What Happens If You Swim In A Shocked Pool? Precautions & How Long To Wait !


To the uninitiated, the idea of a shocked pool is intimidating enough in itself, without even contemplating swimming in it. In actual fact, the term ‘shocking’ has nothing to do with electricity but is a way to keep your pool water clean and healthy. All the same, it does carry risks that you should be aware of.

What Happens If You Swim In A Shocked Pool? If you do not wait for the chemicals used to shock a pool to totally dissolve then you could be placing yourself in serious danger by swimming in it. At the minimum, you will feel itchy skin and eyes because of the chemicals present in the water. If you were to accidentally drink the water in a recently shocked pool then you could even be risking poisoning and fatality. 

What Is Pool Shock?

If you were to leave a pool to sit without any treatment then it would become not only unsightly, but unsafe. Over time different types of bacteria and algae will begin to develop unless the water is treated. This is process is affected by heat, so during summer or in countries with generally hotter climates, you will find that these microorganisms will develop more rapidly.

Shocking a pool is the term given to the treatment of the water which inhibits the growth of these bacteria and algae. The major 3 of these chemicals are calcium hypochlorite, sodium dichlor, and potassium monopersulfate. The type of chemical that you use will determine how long you have to wait before you can swim in the pool, among other things.

How Long Should I Wait Before Swimming In A Shocked Pool?

The three major chemicals used for shocking pools are calcium hypochlorite, sodium dichlor, and potassium monopersulfate and the waiting time before you can swim in a shocked pool will vary depending on the chemical used.

If you are using calcium hypochlorite or sodium dichlor then the advice is to wait 4-8 hours before swimming in the pool . Because of this, many people prefer to shock their pools in the evening so that the chemicals have all night in which to become safe to swim in (source).

If you are using potassium monopersulfate then the wait time is a lot shorter. This is the main reason for using this chemical, because you only need to wait around 15 minutes before you can jump in the pool again after it has been treated (source).

Also check our our post on How Long After Ear Piercing Before You Can Swim? Why & What Not To Do !

What Happens If You Swim In A Shocked Pool? What To Do If Somone Did!

Calcium hypochlorite, sodium dichlor, and potassium monopersulfate are all similar in terms of their effect on humans. All can irritate the skin, burn the eyes and cause respiration problems when breathed in. Calcium hypochlorite can cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) if you are exposed to high levels. Also note that sodium dichlor is a reactive chemical and an explosive hazard (source), so should be stored properly.

In terms of swimming in a pool that has been recently shocked, you may be exposing yourself to the risk of skin and eye irritation. If this happens then rinse thoroughly with clean water for several minutes (source).

It is not common to suffer from respiratory issues, but it is possible if the chemicals used are particularly strong or you were to swim in a pool directly after it has been shocked. This could be more of an issue for young children or the elderly with breathing issues. If you have any breathing issues such as coughing or wheezing, then immediately get into the fresh air and sit in a comfortable position and if the symptoms persist then get to a hospital.

Also check out our article on What You Need To Do After A Swimming Session? Wearables & Skin Care!

How Do I Know If My Pool Is Safe To Swim In?

Your first step will be to follow the guidelines on the chemicals that you have used to shock your pool with. Read the instructions properly and follow them because they are for your safety.

Once you have followed the guidelines and you want to double-check if the pool is safe to swim in then you can check the chlorine levels. Once chlorine levels are below 5 ppm then it is safe to swim (source). You can test chlorine levels very quickly and easily with a testing kit that you can buy in any pool store, they are inexpensive and easy to use.

Here ==> check the Simple and Easy Chlorine and PH Pool Testing Kit that we recommend (Amazon Link)

What Happens If You Swim In A Pool With Too Much Chlorine?

Chlorine is put into pools in order to kill germs and bacteria and, therefore to keep you and other pool users safe from contracting viruses that can cause things like diarrhea and swimmer’s ear.

The correct levels of chlorine in a pool will effectively kill the bacteria in your pool, but will not be so high as to harm you or other pool users. The amount of chlorine you need in your pool will vary on factors such as the size, filtration system, number of users, amount of debris and water temperature. You may need to tinker slightly to get the levels correct to begin with.

If you swim in a pool with too much chlorine then there is a risk that you will suffer skin damage, eye damage and it may even provoke an asthma attack; something that is a lot more dangerous in water than on land. As such, it is recommended that you regularly test the pH levels in your pool and ensure they fall within the recommended guidelines of 7 to 7.6 pH.

Also, too much chlorine in your pool can affect the pipping, and metal work such as ladders and even the tiles and concrete. Highly chlorinated water can cause corrosion to any of these areas, and lead to expensive repair bills.

What Do I Do If I Put Too Much Chlorine In A Swimming Pool?

Getting the pH levels correctly balanced may take a little time if you are new to it, and even those with a lot of experience can make mistakes. If you do happen to put too much chlorine in your pool then what are your options?

The most natural way of addressing the issue is to let the sunshine in! 2-3 hours of sunshine will reduce the chlorine levels by up to 90% (source). If this is not a possibility for you then you can look to use neutralizing chemicals such as Sodium Thiosulfate and Sodium Sulfite, or a chlorine neutralizer from your local pool store.

You may want to go down the route of replacing the water. This is a possibility but it can be rather time-consuming. Also, bear in mind that you will need to recheck all of your levels once the new water is in, not just the chlorine. This includes alkalinity and calcium hardness. If all else fails then call in a professional to have a look rather than risking swimming in a pool that is unsafe.

Final Thoughts

Shocking your pool is something that you simply have to do in order to keep pool users safe from infections. When you are shocking your pool, take your time and follow the guidelines for whichever chemicals you choose.

It would also be wise to let others know that they are not to go swimming until it is safe to do so. This is especially important if you have children around who may not appreciate the dangers of swimming in a recently shocked pool. 

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