The importance of shower before swimming
Have you ever wondered why…
- you are asked to shower before entering the pool?
- your eyes go red or feel irritated after swimming?
- the smell of chlorine is so strong in the pool?
You are not alone. About 44 percent of people do not believe it is necessary to shower before going in the pool, with only 32 percent of respondents surveyed say they always shower before swimming. In a survey conducted by Survata on behalf of the Water Quality and Health Council, 71 percent of Americans thought that chlorine is to be blamed for causing swimmers’ eyes to become red and irritated. 38 percent of people believe the characteristic chemical odour of some swimming pools is an indicator of a clean pool.
The answer? It is actually because there is urine present in the water.
When nitrogen-containing compounds found in urine, sweat and dirt combine with the chlorine in the pool, irritants are formed. It is these irritants, and not chlorine, that irritate our eyes, skin and respiratory system. The ammonia-like odour people smell at some pools is not from chlorine, but chloramine, which is produced when chlorine reacts with impurities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges people to shower with soap before swimming. A thorough shower with soap helps remove perspiration, body oils, cosmetics, traces of urine and faecal matter on the body. This would help minimize the amount of impurities in the pool, thereby reducing the production of chloramine. A well-managed pool has no strong chemical smell at all.
Chlorine and other swimming pool disinfectants help protect swimmers from waterborne germs, but the killing of germs is not immediate. Urine and impurities in the pool deplete the chlorine in the pool, rendering it unavailable to carry out germ destruction in the water.
Thus, it is important to shower before you go for swimming. Clean pools do not smell!