Growing up, our parents were just trying to keep us safe when they said “don’t go in the pool until an hour after eating, or you will cramp up and drown!” Who were we to question an adult’s sound judgement? Mom didn’t realize she was just continuing a cycle of misinformation. Maybe it’s because all these common myths below seemed so believable, like the neighbor having a chemical in his pool that changes color when urine is detected. It just sounded like a multi-million-dollar invention that surely someone would have cashed in on! With a little research and skepticism, AquaMobile has debunked the five most common swimming myths:
Swimming Myth #1: You must hold your breath underwater
Most of us instinctively hold our breath while we swim underwater then desperately gasp at the wall; well that’s just a rookie mistake. Holding your breath underwater builds up carbon dioxide in the lungs that causes the gasping effect. Instead, calmly blow bubbles from your nose and mouth. Also, please don’t swallow the pool water because it’s not as clean as we like to think it is.
Swimming Myth #2: Don’t eat within an hour of swimming
This is a swimming myth that is adamantly defended around the world, but there has never been a reported case of cramp-related drowning, at least in American history. This myth grew from an excerpt in Scouting for Boys, an outdated scouting manual published in 1908 that reads:
“First, there is the danger of cramp. If you bathe within an hour and a half after taking a meal, that is, before your food is digested, you are very likely to get cramp. Cramp doubles you up in extreme pain so that you cannot move your arms or legs — and down you go. You may drown — and it will be your own fault.”
Although cramps in the calves, feet and hands while swimming are not uncommon, they are not life-threatening and are actually caused by overexertion. Basically you sat next to the pool after eating that hot dog and chips for nothing. Thanks mom.
Swimming Myth #3: Itchy red eyes are caused by an over-chlorinated pool
The culprit is actually the opposite. The irritating burning sensation around the eyes is caused by chloramines, a by-product of chlorine, which is the result of an under-chlorinated pool.
Swimming Myth #4: “There’s a chemical that can detect urine in the pool”
Being outed as a “phantom tinkler” with a purple dye circling you was every little kid’s biggest fear at a pool party. However, no manufacturer has succeeded in creating a chemical additive that detects urine, so fortunately for all grade schoolers with over-active bladders, it only exists in the movies.
Swimming Myth #5: Chlorine causes your hair to turn green
The dread of all blonds! No, chlorine does not leave a tinge of green on your luscious locks, it’s actually the result of copper that seeps into the water from pipe work, fittings and heater coils. If you do happen to notice unwanted highlights, shower immediately after jumping out of the pool with leave-in conditioner or pour a soft household acid like lemon juice on your scalp to clean the green out.
Need any other swimming myths debunked? Let us know in the comments below.