Why my kids always sick swimming

why my kids always sick swimming

As parents, one of our biggest concerns is keeping our kids healthy. However, many parents notice that their children often seem to get sick, such as colds or fevers, after swimming. This can be worrying and frustrating to deal with. In this blog post, I will explore some of the most common reasons why swimming may lead to illness in children, and provide some tips on how to help prevent kids from getting sick after being in the pool or other bodies of water. Lets continue to why my kids always sick swimming.

Why Does My Child Get a Fever After Swimming?

One potential cause of fever after swimming is due to the child swallowing chlorinated pool water. Chlorine is added to pools as a disinfectant to kill germs, but it can also irritate the throat and stomach if swallowed. This irritation may cause a fever in some children. Swallowing even small amounts of pool water is common for young children who are just learning, but it can lead to symptoms like:

  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Diarrhea
The good news is that chlorine-related illnesses are usually mild and short-lived once the chlorine has passed through the system. However, it’s still important to monitor fevers and contact your pediatrician if symptoms persist or worsen.
Another possibility is that the fever is actually due to an infection the child contracted before, during or after swimming. Common germs that can cause fevers include:
  • Viruses like influenza that cause the flu
  • Bacteria like Streptococcus that cause strep throat or skin infections like impetigo
  • Parasites like Cryptosporidium or Giardia that cause crypto or beaver fever
Public pools can harbor many germs due to the number of people sharing the water. Even chlorine can’t kill every single virus or parasite. Bacteria and other microbes can also be introduced via other swimmers who are actively infected but don’t display symptoms yet. Proper hygiene like showering after swimming and not swimming when sick can help reduce risk of infection.

Child Always Gets a Cold After Swimming

It’s very common for children to develop cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sore throat after swimming. Again, this is often due to the same infectious causes that can lead to fever. Viruses that cause the common cold thrive in chlorinated pool environments. The moist, warm conditions of the upper airways are ideal for cold viruses to multiply and spread from person to person.
Some additional factors that may increase cold risk include:
  • Temperature changes – Going from a warm pool to cooler, air-conditioned indoor areas can lower immunity.
  • Chloramines – These are chemical byproducts formed when chlorine mixes with substances in the water like sweat, urine and dirt. High levels can cause eye and respiratory irritation.
  • Pool chemicals – Besides chlorine, other disinfectants like bromine may also irritate the lungs and make kids more susceptible to colds.
  • Crowds – The higher the bather load, the greater the chance of exposure to cold viruses from sneezes and coughs of infected swimmers.
So in summary, swimming itself doesn’t directly cause colds but provides many opportunities for cold virus transmission and leaves the body more vulnerable to infection. Taking preventive measures can help reduce risk.

Flu-Like Symptoms After Swimming in Pool

Getting flu-like symptoms that involve fever, body aches, extreme tiredness after swimming could potentially signal influenza virus infection. Influenza or “the flu” spreads very easily in crowded indoor settings like public pools. Some key facts about flu transmission in pools:
  • Influenza viruses can survive and remain contagious in chlorinated water for several days.
  • A single cough or sneeze can release up to 40,000 virus-containing droplets into the air or surrounding surfaces.
  • Young children especially may get water up their noses from splashing or submerging, allowing direct entry of viruses into the respiratory tract.
  • The virus can also be picked up from surfaces like pool decks, railings, shower areas touched by infected individuals.
  • Symptoms usually appear 1-4 days after exposure but can take up to 2 weeks, so swimmers may not realize they are contagious.
To reduce flu risk, it’s best to avoid swimming when feeling unwell. Encourage proper cough/sneeze etiquette and handwashing at pools. Consider flu vaccination as well which provides some protection. See a doctor promptly if flu is suspected so antiviral treatment options can be discussed.

Child Swallowed Pool Water and Threw Up

It’s quite common for young children to accidentally swallow small amounts of pool water while playing, splashing or blowing bubbles underwater. For most kids, this isn’t a major issue. However, some children may experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea after ingesting chlorinated water.
The exact cause isn’t always clear but could involve:

  • Irritation of the stomach from chlorine chemicals
  • Osmotic effects when highly chlorinated water enters the stomach
  • Presence of other contaminants in the water like germs, dirt or chemicals
  • Individual sensitivity – Some kids seem more prone to react this way
Symptoms are usually mild and short-lived. But it’s a good idea to monitor your child closely after throwing up. Make sure they stay hydrated. Call the doctor if vomiting persists for more than a few hours or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms. Preventing water ingestion as much as possible also helps reduce this risk.

Child Has Fever After Swimming in Pool

As discussed earlier, fever occurring after pool time could potentially be due to infections, chlorine irritation or other causes. It’s important to monitor the child for any additional symptoms and take their temperature. A low-grade fever under 101°F may not require treatment on its own but should still be watched. However, fevers over 101°F often indicate an illness is present and medical attention may be needed.

Some specific things to look out for with pool-related fevers include:
  • Onset of other cold/flu symptoms like cough, sore throat or body aches
  • Abdominal pain, nausea if large amounts of pool water were swallowed
  • Diarrhea or vomiting in addition to fever
  • Fever persisting for more than 24-48 hours
  • Very high temperatures over 103°F
  • Underlying health issues like asthma acting up
See a doctor promptly if the fever doesn’t come down with acetaminophen/ibuprofen or is accompanied by concerning symptoms. Blood tests may be ordered to check for infections like strep throat or influenza. Antibiotics may be prescribed if a bacterial cause is identified.

Cold Like Symptoms After Swimming in Pool

As we’ve discussed, swimming provides many opportunities for children to pick up cold viruses from other swimmers or the pool environment itself. Symptoms like runny nose, cough and sore throat are very common after pool time. Here are some tips that may help reduce cold risk:
  • Shower as soon as possible after swimming to wash off chlorine and germs.
  • Change out of wet swimsuits/towels right away to avoid prolonged exposure.
  • Dry off thoroughly, especially hair which can harbor viruses.
  • Consider using a humidifier at home to keep nasal passages moistened.
  • Boost immunity with a healthy diet, rest, vitamins if needed.
  • Avoid swimming when feeling ill or if there is an active cold/flu outbreak.
  • Swim during less crowded times if possible.
  • Practice good hand hygiene especially before touching face or eating.
  • See a doctor if cold symptoms persist longer than 10 days or worsen.

How to Avoid Getting Sick After Swimming

To summarize, here are some key steps parents can take to help prevent illness after swimming with kids:
  • Shower immediately after swimming to rinse off chlorine, chemicals and germs.
  • Change out of wet swimsuits and towels. Dry off thoroughly.
  • Monitor kids closely for signs of fever, vomiting or diarrhea within 24 hours.
  • Encourage proper cough/sneeze etiquette and frequent handwashing.
  • Consider using goggles to prevent water from entering nose/mouth.
  • Swim during less crowded times if possible to avoid exposure.
  • Maintain good pool hygiene and don’t swim if feeling unwell.
  • Boost immunity through a balanced diet, rest, vitamins if needed.
  • See a doctor promptly if symptoms persist beyond 24-48 hours.
  • Get vaccinated against preventable infections like influenza.
  • Be aware that some kids may just be more prone to reacting to pool chemicals.
With preventive measures and monitoring for signs of illness, parents can help reduce the risk of their children getting sick after swimming. But occasional minor symptoms are also common and usually short-lived. Seeking medical advice promptly for persistent or worsening issues is important for a child’s well-being. I hope this blog post has helped address some of the concerns around kids getting ill after swimming or why my kids always sick swimmimg. Please let me know if you have any other questions!
Picture of Abhishek Sonkar [Author]

Abhishek Sonkar [Author]

Meet Abhishek Sonkar, [B.com, B.Ed., M.Ed.], a child development specialist with years of experience in the field. He has written numerous blog posts on child development and parenting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fever can sometimes occur due to swallowing chlorinated pool water, which can irritate the stomach and throat. It’s also possible the fever is from an infection contracted before, during or after swimming in the pool. Viruses like influenza are commonly spread in pools.

While swimming doesn’t directly cause colds, public pools provide ideal conditions for cold viruses to spread due to crowds, temperature/humidity changes, and chemical irritants. This can make kids more susceptible to infection and symptoms.

It’s not uncommon for young kids to accidentally swallow small amounts of chlorinated water, which may cause nausea or vomiting in some due to stomach irritation. However, large amounts ingested or persistent vomiting would need medical evaluation.

Parents should monitor kids closely for 24-48 hours after swimming for potential symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or cold/flu signs. Anything persisting beyond 1-2 days may require medical attention depending on severity.

Thoroughly showering after, avoiding overcrowded pools, practicing good hygiene, boosting immunity through diet/rest, and seeing a doctor promptly for ongoing issues can all help reduce risks. Vaccines like flu shots also offer some protection.


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