Picture of a Swimming Pool

How to Prevent Sinus Infection from Swimming

You had a nice refreshing swim with great exposure to the sunshine. Your Vitamin D levels are favorably rising, your body is feeling rejuvenated but your nose and ears are hurting. It may be sinus pain.

The sinus pain can be avoided altogether or the possibilities can be significantly reduced, if you take precautions while swimming.

The fun of swimming in the pool may sometimes be limited by sinus infection that may follow, particularly if you are a sinus prone person.


Let us understand what it is that may cause sinus troubles or even infection. There are two main reasons of pool causing sinus problems. Both these reasons become even more relevant if it is an indoor swimming pool, which is, either not cleaned daily or which has very high chlorine content.

One of the main causes is an unclean swimming pool water causing bacterial sinus infections. That is why chlorine is added to the pool water to keep the water clean, but the chlorine in the pool water can also cause sinusitis during Swimming.

The chlorine in pools can cause inflammation in the lining of the sinuses causing sinusitis. In addition it can be responsible for inflammation in the lining of the nasal passages causing rhinitis. Both these problems can last one to two weeks. Regular swimming may even aggravate. That may be something you certainly don't want.

The simple inflammation of the linings may turn into full blown sinus infection. A sinus infection is an inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages. There are small tubes that connect sinus cavities to the nasal passages. These tubes are called Ostium. The irritation of mucous membrane extending to Ostium by over exposure to the chlorinated water builds up mucus and pus in the sinus cavity causing infection.


Though chlorine kills germs to purify the water, unfortunately it fails to kill the bacteria that get in the mucus membrane and ear canal.

Usually the irritation goes away in a couple of days in most cases, but in some cases bacterial infection can lead to a full blown sinus infection (sinusitis). Too much exposure to the chlorinated water also causes swimmer's ear, skin complications, eye irritation and hair fall.

If you are more careful during swimming then you can save a lot of trouble during swimming. Swimming has to be fun. It is good for overall health, but you can reap the benefits only if you do it right by taking precautions.

Precautions to Avoid Sinus Infection During Swimming

sinus infection swimming infographic

It is all about how you swim. Swim less or swim by keeping your head above the water (this may be inconvenient for most people). If the head keeps getting inside the water, then the normal breathing process may attract water to get inside the nose.

Chlorine in the water adds more complications. Longer exposure to chlorinated water usually leads to many complications including sinus infection. Shorter periods in the pool will help. If it is an indoor pool then you will feel the chlorine in the ambiance also. Swim for a short while, enjoy the activity and get out of the confined area which doesn't give you enough fresh air.

Use ear plugs to stop the chlorinated water to enter sinus cavities through the ears. Make sure that these ear plugs are suitable for your pool conditions. Rubber plugs are better than the wax plugs when the water is warm.

After the swim, take hot water shower and inhale steam to clean the sinus cavities. This will greatly reduce the inflammation immediately. Clearing your sinus cavities immediately must remain your focus if you are prone to sinus infections.

Change your swimming location to the beaches from the swimming pools. Clean sea water is great. Of course it may not be easy for everyone to get access to the sea as you may be living hundreds of miles away from the sea.

In any case you enjoy swimming then your focus should be to limit your exposure to chlorine in the water to avoid sinus.