Swimmers beware

November 3, 2015 -- The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) came out with a report this year that confirms something I've long believed:  it isn't the chlorine in a swimming pool that makes your eyes sting; it is the chemical formed by the combination of chlorine and urine that does that.  (See Newsweek article about the CDC report by clicking here.)

Swimming in public pools has always made my eyes sting.  I swim laps for a full sixty minutes every day, so my eyes have much exposure to the water.  Of course, when swimming laps in public pools I would wear goggles.  But goggles do leak.  Or, if they don't, they're so tight that they're uncomfortable.

Now I swim in a pool that is used my nobody but me and my husband.  I don't wear goggles.  I still swim laps for 60 minutes or more, and voila.  My eyes do not sting at all.

Yes, our pool has chlorine.  The company that built the pool is the company who maintains it weekly, and I trust them absolutely (Coastal Custom Pools).

The pool just before we bought the house, in May.

Is it better to swim in the Gulf?  That depends.  This past week, the Florida Health Department in Lee County tested the water at Blind Pass beach -- the nearest public beach for us.  The water failed the test; too much Enterococcus.

According to the health department notice, "Enterococcus bacteria normally inhabit the intestinal tract of humans and animals. The presence of an elevated concentration of these bacteria is an indicator of pollution, which may come from storm water runoff, pets, wildlife or sewage. Elevated levels of Enterococcus bacteria have been associated with an increased risk of swimming-associated gastroenteritis illness (diarrhea and abdominal pain)."

Those who use the beaches south of Blind Pass aren't necessarily safe in the water; only public beaches are tested.  So neighborhoods southeast of Blind Pass should also avoid the water, in my opinion, until the city or county tells us that Blind Pass beach is safe again.

Alas, our own Dinkins Bayou is very near Blind Pass, and so the tides are probably bringing the Enterococcus here, too.

No wonder I haven't seen any paddleboarders today!


  1. I know I haven't commented in a very long time, but this one really took me aback. I never once thought while growing up about swimming in the water (except for gators or jellyfish). Never once thought about it being polluted. Never once thought that someone had to test the waters. This makes me quite sad...


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