(RxWiki News) Many of us grow up believing certain health and safety myths. Sometimes, these misconceptions are harmless. Other times, they can have serious consequences.
Here are four common summer health misconceptions that might change the way you spend your summer days.
1) Swimming after eating can lead to cramps and is dangerous.
Maybe your parents told you to wait 30 minutes after eating before going for a dip in the pool. This common myth is based on the idea that eating causes blood to be diverted from the rest of your body to your digestive tract, leaving your arms and legs without enough blood to help you swim.
According to Duke Health, this idea is not proven. While extra blood does go to the digestive tract, it is not enough to actually affect the proper functioning of your arms and legs.
2) I can’t get a sunburn if it’s cloudy outside.
You may be tempted to forget about the sunscreen when the weather forecast predicts a cloudy day. But even when the sky is full of light clouds, 80 percent of UV rays can still get through, and that means sunburns are possible. In fact, when clouds are puffy, they can actually increase exposure to UV radiation by deflecting UV rays toward the earth’s surface.
3) Tanning is fine as long as I don’t burn.
Many people think that as long as they only tan and don’t burn, their skin is not getting damaged by the sun. In reality, even those who always tan but don’t burn are still damaging their skin.
People with dark skin have more of the pigment melanin and tend to brown in the sun, while those with light skin have less melanin and tend to turn red and burn in the sun. Either way, the change in color denotes skin damage, and people of all skin types can get skin cancer. Anyone exposed to the sun should take measures to protect his or her skin from sun damage.
4) Ocean water helps with cuts and sores.
If pharmacies sell saline washes for wounds, won’t swimming in the salty ocean help a wound, too? Well, the ocean contains more than just salt and water. A flesh-eating bacteria called Vibrio vulnificus can be found in coastal waters, especially during the warm summer months. If an open wound comes into contact with contaminated seawater, the bacteria can cause serious and life-threatening infections. In other words, you are probably better off purchasing that sterile saline wash from the store this summer.