It’s important to take extra care with certain aspects of our health and well-being, such as avoiding too much sun and making sure to drink enough fluids. To help keep you informed on some of the best ways to stay to safe in the sun, here experts debunk some popular summer health myths and offer their advice on how to look after yourself and the whole family this summer.
False: Saltwater helps wounds heal
“This is a myth because saltwater from the beach can actually contain germs or bacteria that can infect an open wound,” says Baylor College of Medicine expert Isabel Valdez, a physician assistant and instructor of family and community medicine. “You should wait until the wound is healed and sealed completely before submerging it in fresh or saltwater.”
To help the healing process, Valdez recommends washing the wound with warm, soapy water. If the wound becomes red, sore or warm to touch, then you should see your doctor.
True (to a certain extent): You can get stomach cramps if you go swimming too soon after eating
If you go swimming, or do any vigorous activities too soon after you eat, then there is a small chance that yes, you can get cramps, says Valdez.
However, although swimming on a full stomach can cause discomfort, it is not life-threatening. Just allow some time to digest your food.
False: You do not have to wear sunscreen when it is cloudy
“You definitely want to wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy because you are still going to be exposed to some UV rays,” Valdez said. “I recommend always wearing an SPF over 30.”
Remember to reapply throughout the day, adds Valdez, especially if you are swimming or sweating.
False: Kids need less sleep in summer
It might be light outside, and the kids are probably begging to stay up later as a result, but children still need the same amount of sleep in summer as the rest of the year, says Blake Jones from Purdue University.
“School is out and children want to stay up later, especially to play outside, but it’s crucial to keep them on a regular sleep schedule,” says Jones, an assistant professor of human development and family studies.
“Summer also is often a time when many kids gain weight. There are several potential reasons, such as staying up later while eating fatty, salty, and sugary foods; increasing screen time and sedentary behaviors for some kids; and changing sleep patterns by disrupting sleep and sleeping less in general.”
False: All drinks will help you stay hydrated
“While you are out at the beach or hanging by the pool, the best way to hydrate yourself is to simply drink water,” says Valdez.
A cold soda or beer can feel refreshing in hot summer temperatures but they are not going to hydrate you. In fact too much alcohol and caffeine can actually cause dehydration, as they are diuretics which can cause your body to lose fluids. JB