Does Peeing on a Jellyfish Sting Really Work?
On a recent episode of The Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Oz tackles summer myths and truths such as the oft-repeated peeing on a jellyfish sting advice. The following is a summary of what is a myth and what is real when it comes to summer fun in the great outdoors and how it can affect your health.
Summer Myth #1: Does a sunburn fade into a tan?
“The fact of the matter is that a sunburn fades into a tan—which I thought was a truth—is actually a myth,” says Dr. Oz. “When the sun hits your skin, it doesn’t just tan―it destroys,” he explains telling viewers that when too much UV ray exposure hits the skin, that the majority of skin cells will die while only a few will survive and darken. The trick to successful tanning is to get small doses of UV light every day over the summer so that your skin cells will survive the UV ray bombardment and begin to darken naturally.
Summer Myth #2: Are mosquitoes attracted to sweet blood?
Do you ever find that you are the one in the group who always gets bitten by mosquitoes while your friends and family members never get bitten? Did your mother tell you as a child not to eat candy during the summer because it will sweeten your blood and attract mosquitoes? As it turns out, you are not alone as this is one of the most commonly held myths of summer.
“The idea that mosquitoes are attracted to sweet blood is a myth,” says Dr. Oz who tells viewers that mosquitoes can actually sense a food source such as a human from over 170 feet away by a person’s body odor—not by how their blood tastes.
So why does a mosquito choose you within a group? According to Dr. Oz, the fact is that one out of every 10 people is more susceptible to mosquito attacks because of the odors on the skin such as from sweat containing lactic acid and ammonia. In addition, certain perfumes and soaps can increase your attractiveness not only to members of the opposite sex, but mosquitoes as well. And, if you are drinking alcohol, that will further increase your propensity for getting bug bit.
So what can you do to make yourself a less-desirable food source for mosquitoes? Dr. Oz recommends eating either red or white grapes as studies are showing that this food contains some compound that is actually repellent to mosquitoes.
“Scientists are trying to put some of the scents of grapes into bug repellents so that mosquitoes don’t pick on you,” says Dr. Oz.
Summer Myth #3: Does a cold shower really cool you off on a hot day?
“The concept that a cold shower will really cool you off on a summer day when it is hot is a myth…it’s the opposite,” says Dr. Oz. The reason for this he explains is that by taking a cold shower when your body feels hot prevents your body’s natural cooling system―the sweating process―from working as it should. What happens is that the cold water will cause the blood vessels near the skin’s surface to constrict and actually trap heat within the body when your core temperature is above 98.6 degrees F.
The trick to cooling down your core temperature when you feel hot is to induce sweating. Dr. Oz recommends drinking a cup of hot tea or coffee on a hot day to get your skin to cool off through sweating and subsequent evaporation that draws heat away from the body.
Summer Myth #4: Do you have to wait 20 minutes after a meal before swimming?
The fact is that there are no accurately recorded proven incidences of someone drowning due to having eaten a meal just before entering the water. Experts state that this is one of those “It makes sense, so it must be true” myths that continues to perpetuate because increased blood circulation does occur in the stomach during a meal.
The fear is that increased blood circulation to the digestive system will mean that not enough blood can make it to the leg muscles and thereby cause muscle cramping that will prevent a person from being able to swim. While this has not been proven to be the case, stomach cramping and nausea can result if too much food is eaten just before a strenuous swim. A little common sense is warranted—especially if alcohol is part of a pre-swim meal.
Summer Myth #5: Does peeing on a jellyfish sting reduce pain?
While this scenario has been played out in movies and on TV for years, urinating on a jellyfish sting can actually make it worse say some experts who point out that studies show that the pH of urine can cause the venom-carrying nematocyte cells embedded in skin to swell and actually release more of the stinging venom.
The best treatment on the beach is to gently detach any attached tentacles with an object such as a credit card and then pour something acidic like vinegar over the wound. Acidic solutions will deactivate the nematocytes allowing a more thorough scraping with a credit card to remove any remaining stinging cells. Other sources recommend making a paste with vinegar and meat tenderizer to be applied to the wound and then scraped off within 20 minutes of application. Hot compresses afterward will then provide some relief from the residual pain.
For more facts about health myths, check out what experts have to say about the association between incidences of snow shoveling and heart attacks.
Image Source: Courtesy of PhotoBucket
Reference: The Dr. Oz Show