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“You just ate! You have to wait an hour to get into the water, because if you don’t, your circulation will be cut off and you could drown ”. There should be no adult in the world who has not heard this warning from his mother, while he was a child and now when he is older he surely says the same to his own children. However, more than one will wonder if this warning had some scientific basis or was a mere urban legend.
Just when summer has begun from the equatorial line to the top of the planet and the showers, swimming pools and beaches begin to fill with people eager to escape the high temperatures from Yahoo News we have consulted experts to try to clear up the unknown.
The first thing to say is that so far international bodies such as the World Health Organizations (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) or the most prestigious medical associations they do not consider bathing after eating a danger. However, some specialists make certain observations:
“The problem is not bathing, the problem for me is exercising”, affirmed the physician-surgeon Guillermo Antonio Acevedo, head of the Medicine Service of the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Donostia (Spain), who added: “Water as such does not represent a danger, a person can shower or soak on the edge a pool after eating, what you should not do is move or exert yourself. When you are on the beach you move to stay afloat or to fight the tide and it is as if you were exercising and that causes the blood that the body should use to digest food to be distracted in the muscles, for aerobic work and then digestion takes longer and the person can become indigestible ”.
Not sooo cold
Dereck De La Rosa, an internist at the Colombian Hospital of the Universidad del Norte, spoke in similar terms, clarifying that the famous “digestion cut” is nothing more than a myth, because digestion always continues. However, he warned that what can happen to a person who submerges in water, as soon as they finish eating, is a “peripheral shock.”
What is a peripheral shock? This occurs when the body temperature changes dramatically, which causes the blood circulation to slow down. “Peripheral shock can produce syncope, which is defined as the transitory loss of consciousness,” added De La Rosa.
From the Medical-Surgical Center for Digestive Diseases of Madrid (Spain), for their part, they consider that the temperature of the water is the main risk of bathing just eaten.
“The problem comes when you suddenly enter the water and it is cold,” said the institute’s founder, Gonzalo Guerra, in an interview with the Spanish newspaper ABC. The expert recommended that people go gradually getting into the water, to allow the body to acclimatize and in case of presenting symptoms such as: blurred vision, drowsiness or ringing in the ears, immediately get out or ask for help.
Although for Guerra the bathers who are in swimming pools and on the beach are in a scenario of great risk, he affirmed that those who shower in their baths with very cold water and just eaten are not exempt from danger, since they can faint and have a good blow, especially older people, so he insisted that it is better to allow the body to acclimatize when coming into contact with cold water.
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Despite the statements made by the experts consulted, the World Health Organizations (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) they consider that it is NOT a danger to bathe after eating.
In 2011, a scientific committee of the United States Red Cross conducted a comprehensive study on the available evidence to rule out or confirm the idea that you should not swim after eating and concluded that the studies published to date they showed no effect on swimming performance and minimal side effects at various time intervals after a meal.
Until now, International bodies consider it a myth to affirm that bathing after eating food is dangerous, but they consider it a non-harmful myth and therefore do not show the slightest intention of combating it.
However, this position does not seem to be consensual and this would explain why the Spanish Red Cross does recommend that bathers wait two after eating before entering the pools and beaches.
WHO and PAHO, however, they do consider it dangerous to bathe under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The reason? Drowning accounts for 7% of all injury-related deaths and 95% occur in third world or low-income countries.