Summer Health Myths That Will Surprise You from Summer Health Myths That Will Surprise You

Summer Health Myths That Will Surprise You

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Summer Health Myths That Will Surprise You

The sun’s rays, public pools, weather hazards, and little bloodsucking bugs, especially mosquitoes, all make the list of what can derail your summer health—and surprisingly, there are plenty of misconceptions about them. Summer is also the time of year when many people get motivated to lose weight. They think it’ll be easier because the weather is warmer. They are wrong. Some old myths never seem to die.

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Wear sunscreen all the time

You know you have to “wear sunscreen” and you may even diligently put it on for beach days, but the rest of the time you might be slacking on the coverage. While you should definitely wear sunscreen even when the sun is not burning hot, a little bit of sunshine every day is good for you. It helps your body make vitamin D, which brings endless health benefits.

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Suntan booths are safe

“They are incredibly dangerous and, unfortunately, very poplar,” Dr. Elizabeth Hale, senior vice president of the Foundation and board-certified dermatologist, says. By using tanning beds and lamps you are exposing your skin to ultraviolet radiation. “Even before you’re 35, you increase your chance of developing skin cancer by 75 percent; each session increases it by additional 20 percent,” she adds. Also, people tend to expose parts of the body that don’t normally see a lot of sun, Dr. Hale says. These areas are very sensitive and prone to skin cancer.

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You burn more calories when it’s hot

Whether it’s hot or cold the body needs to work much harder to maintain a steady temperature. When it’s too warm you are sweating which is the body’s way of cooling off, Dr. Greg Wells, an assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Toronto, says. While you may burn a few more calories a minute, you get tired a lot more quickly; therefore, you exercise less and, in the end, your body doesn’t burn significantly more calories.

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You need to work out for at least an hour to lose weight

You absolutely do not need to be working out for long, especially when it’s warm outside and the risk of a heat stroke increases, Dr. Wells says. “The real benefits of physical activity begin to accumulate at 15-20 minutes,” he adds. “But you have to be very consistent.” Walking every day for 15 minutes decreases the risk of breast and colon cancer by up to 40 percent, he adds.

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You can eat all you want because you exercise

“You cannot outrun a bad diet,” Dr. Wells says. “If you eat too much processed and junk food, then it really doesn’t matter how much you exercise,” he adds. “If you want lean muscle, less fat and to feel better in general, your nutrition is where it all starts. Exercise is a bonus.”

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Eight glasses of water a day are enough

How much water you should drink depends on the person, Dr. Wells says. Eight glasses is reasonable but you often need more as your surroundings change, and that happens all the time, he adds. More water is needed if you are under stress, exercise, are in a place with dry climate or high altitude. “The best way to tell if you’re dehydrated is to look at your urine,” Dr. Wells says. “If it’s clear or light yellow, you’re probably fine; if it’s darker yellow, then you need more water.”

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Scratching bug bites is OK

One of the most annoying parts of the summer is the infamous mosquito bite. They can practically drive you crazy as you resist the urge to scratch. It may feel good in the moment to scratch, but that often makes the area even itchier and you are opening yourself up to infection. If you break the skin your fingernails could be delivering germs to the site. Put ice on the bite to bring down inflammation and soothe the itch.

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Any drink is hydrating

In the height of summer, with the sun beating down, sometimes all you want is a nice refreshing drink to help you hydrate and cool off. The only condition is for it to be cold. Many people reach for beer or another alcoholic beverage, but that’s a mistake. Stay away from caffeinated drinks as well. These fluids tend to pull water from the body and promote dehydration.

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Pools are safe and clean

Don’t head straight to dinner after a day having fun at the pool. Make sure you don’t skip the shower. Swimming in a pool is not a replacement for a shower, but a reason to take one. Although outbreaks are not very common, they can happen, Dr. Brent W. Laartz, a board certified infectious diseases specialist, says. “Many pools, especially public ones, may not be properly maintained.” There are some troubling substances in them such as fecal matter, urine and lots of other people’s sweat.

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A lightening can’t strike you

An average of 49 people die each year in the U.S. after being struck, according to the National Weather Service, and for every one death there are nine other people who have varying degrees of injury as a result of being struck. Many of those injuries turn into lifelong disabilities. Keep in mind the old saying: “When thunder roars, go indoors,” and be alert.

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Don’t go in the water right after eating

The old adage that you should wait at least 30 minutes before swimming after a meal has been around for too long. You have heard it a million times from your mom. She was probably just trying to get you to relax so she can relax for a bit, too. While it is true that digestion draws blood into your gut and there could be some minor cramping, there is no evidence or past cases of that ever killing anyone. The International Life Saving Federation completed a comprehensive review on the subject and found that eating a normal-sized meal before a swim is safe.

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You don’t need sunscreen if it’s cloudy

A very common mistake people make, according to Dr. Hale, is thinking that they don’t need sunscreen unless they are at the beach. Research has shown that most skin damage is the result of incidental sun exposure – that’s when you’re pretty much everywhere but the beach and have not put sunscreen on. “90 percent of premature skin aging is caused by overexposure,” she adds. The UV rays penetrate the clouds and windows so they are going to get you if you’re not ready.

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Garlic keeps mosquitoes at bay

Legend has it that garlic can help ward off vampires, so maybe it could keep other blood-suckers away? This is definitely not the case, Dr. Laartz says. He recommends sprays or lotions with DEET, the active ingredient in many insect repellent products. “Even homeopathic repellents are not as effective as DEET,” he adds. It works by making it hard for bugs to smell you.

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You can leave eggs at room temperature

Unless you want a higher risk of foodborne illnesses, don’t leave eggs or milk at room temperature, Dr. Laartz says. Don’t get eggs that are stocked high on the shelf; get those that have been closer to the cold source, he adds. The inside of eggs can contain a germ called Salmonella that can make you sick, especially if eggs are eaten raw or lightly cooked, according to the CDC. Keep eggs refrigerated at 40°F or colder at all times. Some people in Europe do keep eggs at room temperature but that’s because they are produced in a different way.

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You can get Poison Ivy by touching an infected person

This is simply not true, Dr. Laartz says. In order to get infected, you have to be in contact with the toxin, he adds. Theoretically that can happen if you, for example, touch clothes or gloves that have the toxin on them, but there has to be a lot of it, he adds. Touching someone else’s rash will not cause you to swell up.

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Hot weather speeds up metabolism

The body will find a way to keep itself cool, mostly by sweating. The effect hot weather had on your metabolism is disputed, and, if any, it’s very small, especially if you compared it to your diet and exercise habits. If you want to know how to boost your metabolism effectively, click here.

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You should pee on a jellyfish sting

Urine will not help. In fact, it, as well as things like vinegar or alcohol, may actually make it more painful. The best way to soothe the skin is to use plain hot water, saltwater, or a pain reliever like lidocaine to numb the area, according to WebMD. Watch out for jellyfish when you’re in the sea or at the beach; even a dead one can sting you if you step on it.

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You can catch a cold from the AC

Some people think that having the common cold or the flu is caused by cold weather and; therefore, the AC can make you sick. This is not true at all. Both cold and flu are contagious viral infections. Only a virus causes a cold, Dr. Laartz says. Some people think the flu season is over by summer, he adds, but influenza B can occur in the summer and can cause significant problems. Adenoviruses tend to affect older kids, mostly in the summer, Dr. Laartz adds.

Summer Health Myths That Will Surprise You