Summer Myths Busted
Dunk an open wound into the sea because salt water aids healing.
The sea is full of bacteria, which can enter your cut and cause sores and fever.
Spit on it. “A digestive enzyme in saliva can clean wounds and kill micro-organisms,” says professor of dermatology Dr Adnan Nasir. Then apply a waterproof or liquid bandage to block bacteria.
Scratching a bug bite makes it worse
Light scratching inflames immune system messenger proteins at the site, intensifying the itch, says Nasir.
COOL IT DOWN
Hold a chilled beer or an ice cube on the bite. “Low temperatures slow the body’s chemical reactions and make the skin’s itch signals travel sluggishly to the brain,” says Nasir. For nagging bites, use antiseptic solution with camphor to soothe the constant irritation.
Don’t drink from a hose– it’s germy
VERDICT PARTLY TRUE
“No germs live specifically in garden hoses,” says Charles Gerba, a professor of environmental science at the University of Arizona. However, the hose’s end may have rested in animal poop.
Keep your lips off the hose or go straight to the source – the tap.
Going in and out of airconditioned buildings is harmful
Big temperature swings don’t make you vulnerable to colds, says Dr Michael Seidman, director of otologic and neurotologic surgery for the Henry Ford Health System, in the US.
The building’s air won’t harm you, but its surfaces might. Some viruses can survive on surfaces like doorknobs for days. Wash your hands regularly, and come and go as you please.
If water is stuck in your ear, stand on one foot and tilt your head
“Your ear canal is curved, so just tilting your head often isn’t enough to release the water,” says Seidman.
Tilt your head so the waterlogged ear faces down. Place the tip of your index finger in the cuplike spot at the bottom of your ear, and position your thumb behind the ear on the cartilage above your earlobe. Hold firmly and wiggle your ear to straighten the ear canal and dislodge the water.
Don’t swim within 30 minutes of eating
More blood is drawn to your GI tract after eating, which can cause minor cramps, says gastroenterologist Dr Christine Carter-Kent.
If you swim and feel ill, sit and wait it out.
Campfire or braai smoke is dangerous
The smoke’s particulates can damage your lungs, says Dr James Mamary of the Temple Lung Centre.
Stay upwind and you’ll be fine.