As all new parents know, the summer months provide greater opportunities to enjoy the outdoors; however, they also present seasonal health risks and challenges.
“There are many myths and misconceptions regarding hot weather activities, and unfortunately, these can pose serious health risks,” says Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental behavioral pediatrics at Schneider Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park, NY and author of a new book on pediatric myths entitled Babyfacts.
Although most people likely know that you don’t get warts from touching toads, many other health misconceptions persist regarding outdoor activities. For example, many people believe that you need to wait 30 minutes or longer before swimming after a meal when, in fact, there really is no need to wait at all.
Another popular myth is that potato salad is the first thing to go bad at a picnic. According to Adesman, this may have been true years ago when it was prepared with homemade mayonnaise (which contains uncooked eggs). Today, this is much less of a concern if the salad is made with commercially prepared mayonnaise.
Here are some other hot weather myths that will help you survive the summer:
• Poison ivy rash is contagious
• Fans are a good way to prevent heat stroke
• You can catch a cold immediately after leaving an air-conditioned room
• Urinate on a jelly fish sting to soothe the pain
• You should suck out the venom from a snake bite
• Sparklers are a safe alternative to fireworks
• Dark skinned people do not need sunscreen
• Citronella candles are an effective mosquito repellent
• The higher the percentage of DEET, the more mosquitoes will be repelled
• Wearing less clothing makes you feel cooler
• You need to put on sunscreen right before you go outdoors
• There is no harm in urinating in a public pool that is properly chlorinated.
Regarding this last myth, although there are no special dyes in pools that detect urine (a popular myth that may serve as a deterrent for some), urine can cause eye irritation and breathing difficulties when it mixes with chlorine. Adesman notes that in a very recent survey of 1000 adults, 17 percent admitted urinating in a swimming pool, indicating that many people obviously consider this to be acceptable behavior.
These are just some of the 160 myths debunked in Adesman’s book. Parents and other childcare providers wishing to see how many myths they unknowingly believe to be true can take a fun and informative quiz at www.babyfacts.com.