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Can You Swim with Pink Eye? Exploring the Facts 

Gina Walters


can you swim with pink eye

Pink Eye is an infection of the conjunctiva, a clear membrane covering the white part of the eye and lining the inside of the eyelids.

It can be brought on by viruses, bacteria, and allergens.

You might be wondering if it is safe to swim while having Pink Eye.

This article will answer the question, “Can you swim with Pink Eye or not’’ and uncover all the facts associated with the said notion.

Can you swim with Pink Eye

Swimming is usually not recommended if you have Pink Eye.

If you swim with Pink Eye, it can lead to several potential health complications.

These include increasing symptoms and an increased risk of infection spreading to other swimmers. 

Hence, it’s generally safer to simply avoid swimming until your infection has gone away completely.

Both Bacterial and Viral Pink Eye are extremely infectious, spread fast, and cause discomfort to the people having the condition. 

It’s essential to stop Pink Eye from getting worse and spreading to other people if you already have it.

See an ophthalmologist if you are unsure about the cause of your Pink Eye. Your doctor may recommend eye drops or ointment to treat Pink Eye and stop it from spreading.

According to the CDC, if you have Pink Eye, it is highly advisable to restrict yourself from swimming. 

Since Pink Eye is highly infectious, it is possible for other swimmers to get the infection.

An eye that is already infected can be easily harmed by bacteria and other allergens in the pool water.

Pink Eye can also spread through water-related activities or even merely by sharing items at the pool, such as goggles, towels, and sunscreen.

Chemical irritants like chlorine present in pool water could worsen the discomfort and other Pink Eye symptoms. 

Additionally, it removes the tear film that shields and maintains the moisture and clarity of your eyes.

Chlorine can disrupt the tear film, leaving the eyes open to chemicals and germs in the water. 

This, in turn, causes dry eye symptoms, impaired vision, and grittiness.

Additionally, foreign objects like dirt, insects, and fallen leaves can get into outdoor swimming pools and cause bacteria to grow.

Don’t get confused between Pink Eye and dry eye symptoms. Read our article: Pink Eye vs Dry Eye: Understanding The Difference to know the difference between the two.

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Resuming swimming after Pink Eye

swimmingSource: Margaryta_Basarab_from_Getty_Images
Closeup of a female swimmer

The best time to start swimming again after Pink Eye might vary based on your particular situation and Pink Eye causes.

Since Pink Eye treatment and its symptoms may vary among individuals, it can take a few days to a few weeks for your condition to heal completely.  

It is usually advised to avoid swimming until your symptoms have entirely gone away and you are no longer infectious. 

It is better to take the advice of your healthcare expert regarding Pink Eye treatment and when it’s okay to start swimming again. 

Besides this, take care of your Pink Eye at home as much as you can.

Do not wear any makeup or contact lenses if you have Pink Eye, as they may further worsen your symptoms.

For viral and allergic Pink Eye, cool compresses are recommended to assist in reducing irritation. 

Whereas Pink Eye antibiotics and warm compresses are usually recommended to treat the symptoms of Bacterial Pink Eye

Whatever is causing your Pink Eye, it is important that you adopt certain precautions to prevent polluting the pool water and infecting others.

Want to know the difference between bacterial and viral pink eye? Read our article: Viral vs Bacterial Pink Eye: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Can you swim with Pink Eye? This is the most common question asked by many people experiencing Pink Eye symptoms.

Usually, swimming with Pink Eye is not recommended.

It may infect other people swimming in the same pool.

Also, the chlorinated water and other contaminants in the pool may further worsen your symptoms.

Don’t resume swimming until your symptoms go away completely.

Always consult your doctor before resuming swimming.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it ok to swim with Pink Eye?

No, one should not swim with Pink Eye as the infection may spread to other swimmers and may further worsen your symptoms.

Does chlorine make Pink Eye worse?

Chlorine is generally used in the pool as a sanitizer. 
Since it is a chemical, it may affect your eyes and make your Pink Eye worse.

Does swimming help pink eye?

No, swimming does not help with Pink Eye. 
In fact, it may spread the infection to others and worsen your symptoms. 
Hence, it is advisable to avoid swimming if you have Pink Eye.

If you use goggles, is it possible to swim with Pink Eye?

Goggles are generally advised to prevent water and chlorine from getting into the eyes, but they might not be able to stop the infection from becoming worse or from spreading to other people.
Furthermore, the infection might spread to other swimmers if they mistakenly wore an infected swimmer’s goggles around their eyes.

Is Pink Eye contagious?

Yes, Pink Eye is a highly contagious disease that may spread from one person to another quickly by coming in direct contact or by sharing things.

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