The truth about those old wives' tales
Will you a catch a cold with wet hair? Will your potato salad go bad in the heat? Does a drink help a hangover? We’ve got the answers that debunk (or defend) common old wives’ tales.
Old wives’ tale: Peeing on a jellyfish sting alleviates the pain
This old wives’ tale is certainly effective in deterring people from coming too close to jellyfish. After all, no one wants to purposely pee on themselves – or worse, have a friend do it. However, many of you will be surprised (and some, a bit regretful) to learn that the tale is not actually true.
Jellyfish stings result from millions of stinging cells on a jellyfish’s tentacle, known as nematocytes, injecting venom into the skin. After getting stung, rather than heading straight to the bathroom – or commissioning a brave friend to come with you – follow three simple steps to alleviate the pain: First, remove the tentacles with something other than your fingers (to prevent further stinging). Next, disable the nematocytes by pouring an acidic compound, such as vinegar, on the site of the sting. Finally, use a flat object to scrape off the stinging cells, and voilà, you have treated your jellyfish sting – without the use of urine!
Old wives’ tale: You can’t swim after eating, or you may drown
The old wives’ tale that you can’t swim after eating is not actually true – although you’ve probably heard your mother say it countless times. Cue the eye-roll and dramatic sigh over all those lost minutes in the pool. This myth assumes that after eating, the body diverts blood from your limbs to the digestive tract, depleting your arms and legs of enough blood to swim. While it is true that digestion requires extra blood, the body does not drain the limbs of enough blood to work properly. According to Duke Health, the worst thing that could happen from swimming after eating is a small, harmless cramp.