7 Common Summer Health Myths

Ah, summertime! It’s the season for traveling, for relaxing out by the pool, for breaking out your bike and getting in some exercise.

Basically, there’s no wrong way to take advantage of a long, beautiful summer day . . . Unless you follow some bad advice along the way!

There are probably all sorts of things you’ve heard about staying safe and healthy during the summer that are really just a load of hot air.

Here are seven common summer myths it’s time to give up:

1.) “You Can Get Hydrated from Any Kind of Drink.”

While a hoppy beer or a bubbly soda might hit the sweet spot on a summer day, it’s important to remember that not all beverages are created equal! When you’re reaching for something to drink on a hot day, go for plain water if you want to make the healthiest, most hydrating choice.

For one thing, water doesn’t have any additives that your body needs to break down or digest, so it replenishes and rehydrates your system much faster. What’s more, alcoholic drinks and beverages high in sugar—including some sports drinks—can dehydrate you even faster, which can do you more harm than good!

2.) “You Don’t Need to Wear Sunscreen on Cloudy Days.”

You’ve probably heard that it’s important to protect your skin on sunny days, but what about on those summer days when the sun isn’t shining so brightly? Is it OK to go without sunscreen on gray or cloudy days?

Most experts agree that to be safe, it’s a good idea to apply your favorite sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy out. As the Weather Channel points out: “About 80 percent of UV rays . . . shine through, even when it is cloudy.”

Excess exposure to UV rays can cause sunburn, premature aging, and increase your risk for developing skin cancer. Don’t take a risk with your health!

3.) “You’re Supposed to Pee on a Jellyfish Sting.”

If you’ve ever been stung by a jellyfish while swimming in the ocean, you know just how painful that sensation can be.

When you’re looking for relief from the burning and stinging, you’ll probably hear one piece of advice again and again—usually said with a little bit of a laugh: “Just pee on it!”

The idea that human urine is the cure-all for jellyfish stings is common—you’ve probably even seen it in movies or on TV!

But is there any truth to this so-called health hack?

Not really, as it turns out! As family physician Dr. Jen Caudle tells Bustle: “Urine really isn’t the best substance to help jellyfish stings.” In fact, it may actually irritate the wound and cause even more pain, particularly if the stinger is still stuck on the person!

Instead of . . . well, you know . . . beach safety experts say to carefully dry the area where you received the sting, and then head over to the nearest lifeguard station, which should have first aid products to help you clean and treat the wound and soothe the pain.

4.) “You Should Always Wait at Least Half an Hour to Swim After Eating!”

How many times have you heard that you need to wait at least 30 minutes between grabbing a bite to eat and hitting the water? It’s a super common summer saying, but is it actually useful advice?

While it may be true that going for a swim right after chowing down might cause you to experience some discomfort, the “biggest danger related to eating and swimming is probably… a minor cramp,” according to the Duke Health Blog.

As family doctor Mark Messick, MD, describes it: “The body does supply extra blood to aid in digestion, but not enough blood to keep your arm and leg muscles from properly functioning.”

5.) “Your Air-Conditioning is the Reason You’re Getting Sick.”

Walking out of the sweltering summer heat and into an air-conditioned building can be an incredible feeling. But could air-conditioning actually be making you sick during the summer?

Lots of people think so! As Justin Sedor explains over at Refinery 29, the belief is that “constant exposure to temperatures below 65 degrees makes you more vulnerable to sickness.” For proof, you could point to a number of studies, which have found that employees who work in air-conditioned offices tend to get sick more often than those who don’t.

While it seems that spending all of your time in air-conditioned spaces might increase your chances of getting sick, but it’s not because of the cold air! Colder temperatures in and of themselves aren’t more likely to make you sick. But a poorly maintained A/C system could affect your health over time, especially if it’s circulating fungi, bacteria, and viruses around your building and into your lungs.

6.) “Your Sunburn Will Go Away if You Rub it with Butter!”

Butter makes for great sautéed onions, and it’s delicious on a nice, crispy piece of toast. However, if you’ve heard that the best treatment for a sunburn is a pat of butter, it’s time to think outside the fridge.

Butter won’t actually help soothe your sunburn. In fact, it could actually coat your skin, and form a layer that prevents the burn from healing properly. So, instead of slathering on the butter, your best bet may be to wash the burn with cool water, and then apply a cold compress on and off. After you’ve let the burn cool, a little bit of aloe moisturizer might help relieve some of the pain.

7.) “You Don’t Have to Shower if You Go for a Swim.”

Can a dip in the pool be as cleansing as time spent in the shower?

While it may be refreshing and rejuvenating, the reality is that swimming isn’t exactly the cleanest hobby. As Michele Hlavsa of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program explains to Women’s Health: “Chemicals in personal-care products, sweat, and makeup can interfere with chlorine, making it much less effective.”

As a result, public pools—and other watering holes, like lakes or the ocean—are often swimming with nasty stuff, including bacteria and viruses that can cause infections and make you sick.

So, don’t rely on swimming for your summer hygiene! And, in fact, you may want to shower after you swim to help wash away bacteria and reduce your chances of catching an illness.

How Are You Spending the Summer?

Whether your summer plans are to travel the world or take it easy at home, we’d love to hear what you’ve got planned for the season—and what steps you’re going to take to stay healthy along the way! Be sure to let us know your favorite summer hacks, stories, and more over on Facebook!

And remember, the summer months may be the perfect time to reassess your health and life insurance portfolio. If you have any questions or concerns about . . .

. . .our team can help make exploring your options as easy as a day on the beach!

With the Enrollment Specialists’ own Matt Peebles by your side, you’ll always be able to say, “I Got A Guy!” for all things health and life insurance. Drop us a line today to get the conversation started!

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