Nothing says summer like a day at the beach. However, despite our undying love for the beach, precious little is known about beach safety. A lot of the beach rules we’ve accepted to be true are actually completely unfounded. Knowing how to separate the myths from the truths will help you protect yourself and stay safe. If you still believe any of these six common beach myths, it’s time to get your facts straight.
Myth 1: A Base Tan Will Protect You
Many people forego sunscreen because they believe that once you’ve tanned a little, the pigmentation protects you from further sun damage. However, this is far from true. Any amount of tan is indication that your skin has been damaged. While it is true that people with darker skin are more protected from sun damage, this is because of higher melanin levels in their skin. If you’re naturally pale, getting tanned won’t protect with extra melanin. It just causes you to age faster and increases your chance of developing melanoma. Always remember to apply sunscreen before you head out to the beach, even if you’re already tanned.
Myth 2: Peeing On Jellyfish Stings Reduces Pain
Urine is one of the most widely believed remedies for stopping a jellyfish sting from burning. Supposedly, the ammonia in urine neutralizes jellyfish venom. However, if you do get stung by a jellyfish, peeing on the wound won’t just be messy and embarrassing, but also useless. A more effective way to treat the pain, is to douse it with vinegar or rubbing alcohol.
Myth 3: Sand Is Clean And Harmless
Those white sandy beaches might not be as pristine as you think. Analyses on sand has found that most sand contains particles of fecal matter. That means a good portion of the sand you’re playing with is poop. If you don’t wash your hands after coming into contact with sand, poop particles can enter your system while you’re eating. To prevent this from happening, always pack a bottle of hand sanitizer into your beach bag and wash your hands properly before eating.
Myth 4: You Can’t Swim Immediately After Eating
A lot of people believe that if you swim immediately after eating, blood is too preoccupied within your digestive system to reach your extremities. This is supposed to increase your chances of cramping in water. However, an average human body has 5.5 liters of blood. This means that there’s enough blood to digest your food as well as circulate to your extremities. So next time, feel free to jump into the water right after you’ve had a big lunch.
Myth 5: Sharks Can Smell Period Blood
A lot of times, women are told not to swim during their period because their menstrual blood can lure in sharks. However, sharks aren’t the mindless predators we paint them out to be. Just because they can smell blood, doesn’t mean they’re going to follow the scent. Surfers cut themselves all the time and release blood into the water. By the same logic, great whites should have chomped down on all of them by now. Sharks don’t like to take chances, they’re most comfortable hunting down their usual prey (which aren’t humans). So insert a fresh tampon and don’t let your period stop you from getting into the water.
Myth 6: You Only Need To Apply Sunscreen Once
As has already been established, sunscreen is an indispensable part of going to the beach. However, you can’t just apply it before you head out and forget about it the rest of the day. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every few hours for it to be effective. If you’re getting into the water, then you need to reapply even more frequently. No matter what it says on the tube, no sunscreen is completely waterproof. A general rule of thumb is to reapply every hour if you’re getting into the water and every two hours if you’re staying dry on the sand.