TRUE OR FALSE. Swimming and hydrocution: do you really have to wait 3 hours after eating to go swimming?

Home TRUE OR FALSE. Swimming and hydrocution: do you really have to wait 3 hours after eating to go swimming?
Written by Doug Hampton

the essential
With the arrival very soon of a particularly hot summer, the temptation to jump into the water right after eating is great. But do you really have to wait 2 or 3 hours before going for a swim?

Our parents have already advised us all not to go into the water too quickly after having lunch… but is this popular belief justified? On this subject, medical opinions converge on a common opinion: it is false!

Today, no scientific publication provides proof of this recommendation, which is heard everywhere. For some doctors, it would be quite the opposite: Dr Jean-Louis Chabernaud, emergency pediatrician in Clamart, provides in the columns of Parisian that “this parental prescription is surely even harmful for children. The little ones, below 2-3 years old, need calories to face the effort”. The doctor even goes so far as to call this belief “folklore”.

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Can we risk hydrocution?

Hydrocution is a thermal shock that a human being can experience that occurs when a body that is too hot enters cold water. This theory of digestive expectation in no way avoids this phenomenon, just like a more gradual entry into the water by wetting the neck. In fact, the idea of ​​this digestive break is not so stupid because during digestion the body warms up. But Dr Jean Pierre Cervetti, coordinating doctor of the French Swimming Federation, explains in the Doctor’s Daily that “the digestive tract is ‘shunted’ (muted) during exercise: while swimming, we do not digest. As for hydrocution, it is linked to exposure to the sun and not to digestion .”

Can you swim in the heat without risk?

Behind this excuse used by parents to take a nap after meals, hides a fairer reality: to plunge suddenly into cool water around 2 p.m., after having been in the sun, is not without danger. However, this is not linked to an overly large meal but rather to the high heat of summer. However, in the case of a meal with too much water, swimming is totally prohibited to minimize potential drownings.

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