Go Ahead & Eat Before You Swim -- Yes, Seriously!

beach scene Remember that time when you were a kid and your uncle had that 4th of July barbecue and it was really hot and as soon as you finished your burger, you went to jump in the pool? And your mom was like, "No, no!! You have to wait 30 minutes after eating to swim, otherwise you'll drown!!" You thought she was crazy, but you rolled your eyes and played badminton for half an hour anyway so she wouldn't freak out. Well, guess what?

Turns out your mom IS crazy! Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. I don't know the woman, after all. But that whole thing about drowning if you don't wait 30 minutes after a meal to go swimming isn't true at all. According to experts, the worst thing that can happen if you swim right after eating is that you might get a little cramp. Little -- not the paralyzing, make-you-drown kind of cramp. Huh. So you wasted all that time playing badminton for nothing?! You just don't know what to believe in anymore! If mom was wrong about that, what else was she wrong about?!

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Sounds like this might be a good time to revise that mental list of Summertime Dos and Don'ts. (And maybe your entire belief system.)

I can't help you with the latter, but I can tell you this much about summertime survival:

1. Don't rely on a plain old white t-shirt as sun protection at the beach or at the pool. In fact, a white t-shirt is only about as powerful as an SPF of 6. You'll need to find a clothes with a built-in SPF of 30 or over.

2. Don't pee on a jellyfish sting. I don't care how funny that episode of Friends was, urinating on a jellyfish sting makes it worse, not better. Instead, get out of the water, remove the tentacles (not with your fingers!) and deactivate the nematocytes (little ouchy things) with an acidic compound such as vinegar. Then you can scrape them off with a credit card or other flat object.

3. Don't assume that taking an aspirin every day will keep you from getting skin cancer. Yes, there was a study linking regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen to a reduced risk of melanoma, but there's not enough evidence yet to skip the sunscreen or start popping pills if you don't already.

Did you ever believe any of these summertime myths?

 

Image via jeezychreezy/Flickr

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