A myth to dispel …
“It is a myth to dispel, even if its supporters state that, during the 3 hours of digestion, the blood concentrates in the stomach and, while swimming, the muscles take it away, triggering a stomachache, nausea or, worse still, a sort of circulatory blackout which the brain pays for, which leads to fainting ”, explains the professor Alberto Giovanni Ugazio, director ofInfant Jesus Health Institute From Rome.
«In reality, even if it is true that after a meal the blood supply increases in the gastrointestinal tract, this does not mean that noble organs such as the heart or the brain are deprived of it. No risk even if the water temperature is a bit cold or if the child dives all at once rather than progressively. The organism is able to compensate for the thermal shock. There is no international scientific study that validates the risks of bathing after a meal, and the Mayo Clinic claims that there have never been reports of children with digestive problems during a swim with a full stomach. ” Even theInternational Life Saving Federation defines the recommendation not to dive immediately after eating as unfounded.
… with a little common sense
“If the child has eaten a complete and perhaps abundant meal, it is better that he stays in the shade in relaxation, a situation that is useful to facilitate digestive processes, instead of immediately throwing himself into the water or going under the sun”, suggests Professor Ugazio.
“If you only had breakfast, ate a sandwich or an ice cream, as happens in most cases at the seaside, there is no restriction on taking a bath in a short time. As proof of the non-existent risk, it is enough to take into account the average time of stay of the food in the stomach: a fruit juice or a slice of watermelon takes a maximum of twenty minutes to pass to the intestine, an apple or another fruit 40, a ‘ salad or raw vegetables 30-40 minutes, while a plate of pasta, skim milk or a portion of fresh cheese pass from the stomach to the intestine within an hour.
The risk of drowning becomes real if you leave the children in the water without keeping an eye on them, so much so that WHO reports lack of surveillance as one of the most dangerous factors. It is always necessary to keep an eye on them and not to trust donuts or armrests, inadequate as a means of rescue. Especially for the little ones, even a few centimeters of water can be dangerous and the only tool able to protect them from drowning, in addition to the watchful gaze of the parents, is the jacket ».
A further danger, at the sea, is heat stroke, lurking if the child is kept on the beach during the hottest hours (between 11 and 16) his body, especially if he is a baby, has a very high water content. (more than 75%, against 50-60% of adults), but with the heat and high temperatures it may not be able to disperse the heat.
Result: he sweats, he becomes dehydrated and his body temperature rises dangerously. To avoid risks, therefore, in the hottest hours it is good to let the child stay in cool and ventilated places, make him drink more than usual (water, fresh juices, light tea) to replenish the water lost by sweating. It is good to offer him at least one liter of liquids a day if he weighs less than 20 kilos, one and a half liters if he weighs more.