Should you wait 30 minutes to swim after eating? Some heat-related myths you shouldn't believe

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Friday, July 21, 2023
Some facts and myths on the heat as Houston braves the summer
Should you wait to swim 30 minutes after eating? Do you have to apply sunscreen more than once? ABC13 asked a doctor for the truth about some heat-related myths.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The seemingly never-ending summer drones on in Houston, so you're probably looking for ways to beat the heat. Doing that can come with quite a few beliefs, like the thought that it's not OK to get in the pool within 30 minutes of eating.

ABC13 spoke with a doctor to get answers to our questions regarding those long-held beliefs.

Can you drown if you get in the pool within 30 minutes of eating?

"I think that was a myth that maybe came around a century or two ago. That's certainly not the case, and waiting 30 minutes, versus 20 minutes, versus not waiting at all isn't going to change anything too much," Dr. Mike Ren of Baylor College of Medicine said.

Ren also said that you might feel some bloating or discomfort if you jump into the pool right after eating, but certainly nothing major or life-threatening.

SEE RELATED STORY: Extreme heat dangers and safety tips: What you need to know

Does a higher-SPF sunscreen work better than a lower-SPF sunscreen?

Ren said anything SPF-50 and above is effective, but you won't get maximum protection with any of those if you don't reapply every couple hours.

"I know most people are not doing that. Most people at the beach put on sunscreen once in the morning, and then leave at night and have only done one application. That's really not enough, even if it's SPF-90," he said.

Are people with darker skin able to go without using sunscreen?

"Skin cancer can affect everybody. The percentages and prevalence aren't the same across all different skin types, so if you're lighter-skinned and there's not as much melanin in your skin, then you're more at risk, but that doesn't mean people with darker skin have no risk of skin cancer," Ren said.

Do you burn more calories if you work out in the heat?

"You're going to lose a lot of water weight by sweating it out, but in terms of calories burned, it's not significant. You're still going to be burning calories, but it's not going to be a big enough difference if you're working out outside in the heat of the day or working out in an air-conditioned gym at night," he said.

Does drinking eight glasses of water a day in the summer provide sufficient hydration?

So, eight glasses a day is a good recommendation. Obviously, if you are just sitting around, that's perfectly sufficient, but if you're walking outside you need a lot more. It depends on the activity. If you feel like you're thirsty, your body is dehydrated," Ren said.

SEE RELATED STORY: Tips to stay safe during the hot summer months

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