How to avoid chlorine damage in swimming
Swimming can improve one's cardiorespiratory endurance and body flexibility as well as lower the percentage of body fat. Therefore, swimming has become a popular way of staying fit. However, in public swimming pools, people may be infected with diseases. How can we not only exercise our body through swimming but also decrease health-related risks?
Swimming pool water is the main source that causes health risks because it directly contacts the human body. The metabolites of the human body (especially urine and sweat) and cosmetics (for example, sunscreen) can be dissolved in the water, providing an environment for microbial reproduction.
What's more, some bacteria and viruses may exist in pool water, and can cause diarrhea, pinkeye and respiratory diseases for swimmers. These pathogenic bacteria cannot be removed by the water treatment system of the swimming pool. Therefore, swimmers are subject to red-eye disease, nasosinusitis, tympanitis, viral upper respiratory tract infection or itchy and red skin and gastrointestinal disease after they swim in pools with poor sanitation conditions.
For these reasons, swimming pool water must be sterilized to prevent the spread of diseases and protect the health of swimmers.
Sanitizers for swimming pools
Currently, common ways of swimming pool sterilization include sterilizing with chlorination, ozone, chlorine dioxide, ultraviolet rays and bromine products as well as a metal ion, such as silver ion.
Chlorination kills bacteria and viruses with hypochloric acid generated by chlorine or chloride reacting with water. This method of sterilization has a long history, and was first used for disinfection of drinking water.
Sodium hypochlorite (NaClO), known as higher bleaching powder, generally contains 10 to 15 percent of effective available chlorine. It is cheap and easy to get, and is a frequently used sanitizer.
Nowadays, however, swimming pools are usually sterilized with trichloroisocyanuric acid (TCCA) that contains 85 percent to 95 percent of available chlorine, which can rapidly and effectively kill various bacteria, fungus, mycete and so on and causes less irritation on the human eye and skin.
Is chlorine harmful to the human body?
The disinfectant effectiveness in swimming pools varies according to such factors as sanitary conditions, number of swimmers, temperature of pool water and rate of water exchange. If the water contains less disinfectant, it cannot sterilize the water effectively and microorganisms can breed easily, while if the water contains more disinfectant, it will cause irritation to the skin and mucous membrane of the human body. Generally, disinfectant can be found in all swimming pools. The disinfectant is a strong oxidant, which is harmful to our skin and hair.
Additionally, metabolites of the human body and sunscreen dissolving in the pool water will react with the disinfectant to generate disinfection by-products that will affect swimmers’ health.
How to avoid to harm by chlorine
How can you protect yourself from chlorine damage during swimming? Here are some suggestions:
Wear swimming caps, waterproof glasses, nasal plugs, and earplugs.
Do not rub your eyes directly after the goggles are filled with water.
Wash eyes and goggles with clean water often.
If you choke on water during swimming, immediately rinse the mouth with clean water.
Refrain from uncivilized behaviors, including swimming without showering, swimming without wearing swimming caps, or spitting, urinating and bathing in the pool.
Do not swim for too long or too frequently.