Why Does Chlorine Make Me So Tired?

Chlorine is a commonly used disinfectant in swimming pools and can have various effects on the human body. One of the most frequently reported symptoms is feeling tired or fatigued after swimming in chlorinated water. This phenomenon can be attributed to several factors, including the chemical properties of chlorine and its interaction with our bodies.

Potential Causes of Fatigue:

1. Chloramines Formation:

Chlorine reacts with organic matter, such as sweat, urine, and body oils, to form disinfection byproducts called chloramines. These chloramines have a strong odor and are known to irritate the respiratory system. When we inhale these compounds, they can cause respiratory distress, leading to tiredness and fatigue.

2. Eye and Skin Irritation:

Chlorine can irritate our eyes and skin when we come into direct contact with it. This irritation can be more pronounced for individuals with sensitive skin or those who wear contact lenses. The discomfort caused by these irritations can contribute to a feeling of tiredness after swimming in chlorinated water.

3. Decreased Oxygen Supply:

When we swim, our bodies require more oxygen to fuel our muscles and maintain our energy levels. However, the presence of chlorine in the water can hinder the absorption of oxygen into our bloodstream. This decreased oxygen supply to our muscles can result in fatigue and exhaustion.

4. Chemical Sensitivity:

Some individuals may have an increased sensitivity or intolerance to chlorine. This sensitivity can manifest as symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma may be more susceptible to these effects.

5. Dehydration:

Swimming in chlorinated water can lead to increased dehydration. Chlorine can cause our skin to dry out, and some individuals may not drink enough water while swimming to compensate for the moisture loss. Dehydration can cause tiredness and fatigue, especially when combined with the other factors mentioned above.

Potential CausesEffect on Fatigue
Chloramines FormationRespiratory distress
Eye and Skin IrritationDiscomfort
Decreased Oxygen SupplyReduced energy levels
Chemical SensitivityHeadaches, nausea, fatigue

Tips to Minimize Fatigue:

  • Shower before and after swimming to reduce the amount of organic matter on your skin.
  • Wear goggles to protect your eyes from chlorine irritation.
  • Use moisturizing lotion or swim-specific skin products to hydrate your skin.
  • Choose pools with well-maintained chlorine levels to minimize chloramines formation.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water before, during, and after swimming.
  • Consider using alternative swimming locations, such as saltwater pools, if available.


Feeling tired after swimming in chlorinated water is a common experience for many individuals. This fatigue can be attributed to various factors, including the formation of chloramines, eye and skin irritation, decreased oxygen supply, chemical sensitivity, and dehydration. By understanding these causes and implementing preventive measures, such as showering before swimming and staying hydrated, you can minimize the effects of chlorine and enjoy a more energized post-swimming experience.