Have you ever dove into the deep end of a swimming pool less than thirty minutes after you ate? Have you shown incredible personal restraint by avoiding an itchy mosquito bite for fear scratching it will only make things worse? Did you need to?
We all have a difficult time ignoring long-held words of wisdom. Even when confronted with facts to the contrary. Why is that? They tend to come from people of importance in our lives, like grandparents and parents, so we attribute special significance and weight to them. Let’s address a few of the most common.
Myth: You Can Spread Poison Ivy From Your Rash. Regardless of how recent a poison ivy exposure took place, the resulting rash is not contagious. That’s because the oil from the plant causes the reaction and is contagious. The blistery rash that forms on skin, which appears anywhere between 24 and 72 hours later, is unlikely to retain any of the plant’s oils by that time, so you can’t spread it to others’ skin. Note that washing the exposed area with soap and water immediately upon exposure helps minimize, and potentially prevent the rash.
Myth: Wait 30 Minutes After Eating Before Swimming. Some people report that as children they believed this myth so thoroughly that they feared death if their toe even touched pool water within 30 minutes of eating. The reality is that the worst that could happen is a cramp, thanks to a big meal or snack. Think a cramp would prevent you from swimming to safety? Try again. It’s highly unlikely a food-related cramp would disable a swimmer in any way. So, what’s the rule? There is no magic number. Instead, experts suggest swimmers jump in when they’re ready. It’s all about how you feel.
Myth: Swallowing Watermelon Seeds Is Dangerous. I was told not to swallow watermelon seeds because a watermelon plant would grow in my belly! It turns out our bodies are too acidic to support the growth of the plant. Moreover, normal digestion would harmlessly work the seed out long before it has a chance to set up shop.