Summer Swimming Pool Myths Debunked

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Whether cooling off for a quick dip in your backyard, lounging on a pool float or playing water polo, many swimmers and pool owners have probably heard summer swimming pool myths floating around. While folklore may make you run and grab your towel, it’s important to distinguish fact from fiction. Here are some common summer swimming pool myths debunked.

Eating Before You Swim Can Cause Drowning

False! Rumor has it that you should wait at least thirty minutes after eating before going for a swim. People believe severe stomach cramping can occur while digesting food and swimming simultaneously; thus resulting in drowning. While digestion does, in fact, exert blood circulation toward the gut and away from the muscles of the stomach, a cause of drowning has yet to occur due to someone eating and swimming in under thirty minutes.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Red Cross, swimming, or any type of exercise after eating may lead to discomfort due to the weight of a full stomach forcefully pulling on ligaments that hold the stomach muscles in place. This often results in cramping. The good news is that this discomfort will not cause any harm other than nausea or heartburn.

While there is no time limit for how long you should wait to swim after consuming food, your food choices may impact your swimming experience. It’s best not to gorge yourself; instead, eat light to avoid getting cramps. Snacks that contain simple carbohydrates are a wise choice. The energy in light carbohydrates breaks down faster-stabilizing blood circulation; meanwhile, a heavy plate will make you feel fatigued and heavy. Eat foods rich in energy such as granola bars, bananas, or peanut butter to keep your energy high when swimming and avoid exhaustion.

You Don’t Need Sunscreen If You’re Swimming

False! A common misconception is that if you submerge in water, you do not need to apply sunscreen since it will wash off once you plunge in. In actually, swimming in a body of water increases your need for protection against the sun because water intensifies the sun’s harmful UV rays; thereby increasing the risk for sunburn. Furthermore, the sun’s radiation reflects the water’s surface and the back onto whatever parts of your body are above the surface. This phenomenon actually doubles the risk of sunburn. Not wearing sunscreen while in water evidently can cause more skin damage than if you tan by the poolside or at the beach. But thanks to sun protecting products on the market, you can invest in waterproof sunscreen. Dermatologists suggest a 30SPF or higher and to reapply often.

Sunburn Will Fade Into a Tan

False! Sunburn cannot fade into a tan when your skin is wet from the ocean water or chlorine water. Sunburned skin is a simple response to DNA changes to the skin cells damaged from overexposure to the sun’s rays. When burnt, the body reacts by sending blood up to the skin cells for repair, resulting in the fiery red color. Your body heals and will peel allowing a new layer of skin to form. This new layer of skin is your original pigment, not a tan.

Sunburn can result in serious consequences such as sun poisoning or skin cancer. Be sure to apply sunscreen of SPF 25 or higher to avoid 94% of the sun’s UVB rays.

Rinsing Off Before You Swim

Did you know over 70% of people do not rinse off before they jump into a pool? While chlorine kills communicable pathogens such as bacteria or parasites, it cannot kill everything. Other bodily fluids can be acidic, causing a chemical reaction containing cyanogen chloride that can be dangerous for other swimmers in the pool. The result includes harmful chemicals to the human heart, lungs, and nervous system. Simply put, anyone entering the pool should shower beforehand. Similarly, you should also shower after using a sauna before entering a pool.

Some People Can’t Float

True! Your body type and other genetic factors determine your buoyancy. While fat typically floats, the amount of body fat depends on each individual swimmer. The body’s bones and muscles are denser, which causes the body to be heavier – or rather more float resistant. Also, the size of your lungs can determine how high the body float towards the water’s surface.

Float Past The Myths

Now that you know the truth behind some of the infamous summer myths, you can enjoy your summer and be safe. It is important that you remember how to protect yourself from harm and be healthy when swimming or enjoying other summer activities. Contact the experts at Shoreline Pools with questions or concerns.

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