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Swimming after lunch

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Merv
669829.  Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:28 pm Reply with quote

Now I know I'm going back some time now, but in the general ignorance portion of Season E episode 7, the age old advice, not to swim shortly after eating was discounted as myth.

Many years ago now, I was present when a young boy did indeed die, when he choked and drowned on his own recently consumed lunch. He was jumping from a makeshift diving board roughly 3m above the stream, and landed inelegantly. Picture a bomb dive gone belly flop.

In the first instance, all we knew was he had gone in but not come up, and it took a couple of dozen people nearly a minute to find him in the stirred up flowing water. When he was finally dragged ashore, and emergency first aid administered, it was clear that his lungs (along with water) contained a heck of a lot of food.

Very sadly despite the best efforts of his rescuers, he was unable to be revived.

Now Im not a doctor, and I suspect the death was written up as a drowning. But theres absolutely no doubt in my mind that on impact with the water, portions of the lads lunch was forced back out of his stomach, causing him to choke and drown as a result.

And just while on the topic of swimming after food. I ponder how many drownings have been avoided by the quick actions of surf life savers, pulling exhausted people from rip currents at the beach. The digestive process draws a lot of oxygenated blood. Valueable oxygen that will not be available to ones muscles, causing rapid exhaustion when someone finds themselves swimming for their life on a full stomach.

Anyway, I realise QI's researchers are limited to what has been recorded on official doccumentation. But I would not be nearly so quick to discount what I personally believe to be good advice. Give your body a bit of time to digest food before swimming.

 
bobwilson
669831.  Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:52 pm Reply with quote

yep - let's go with a single anecdotal example where the cause of death recorded by the ME is not reported but an eyewitness (who says he has no expertise) claims that he (the eyewitness) is sure that it was due entirely to the black magic rituals conducted on shore (editors - check I've got that last bit right).

Let's ignore all other possible causes of death:

1. Epileptic fit
2. One of the "rescuers" stabbed him
3. Gave up living on the grounds that there were stupid people in the world

 
BondiTram
669938.  Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:26 am Reply with quote

I would say that this unfortunate boy's death was due to diving, or more accurately, falling, rather than swimming on a full lunch.
From what you describe it was the impact on the stomach forcing food out that was the cause, not food that had gathered in his throat.
I grant that if he had fallen onto a concrete path he would not have drowned, but may well have choked to death.

 
Merv
670155.  Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:32 pm Reply with quote

Haha tough crowd. :)

I don't dissagree with either of you. Yes BondiTram, your quite right, I'm suggesting the combination of full stomach and impact was the cause of the incident. The fact that he impacted water may be purely incidental.

Bob, yes I'm simply recounting what I personally witnessed. And a personal opinion based on that experiance. I didn't actually claim to have no expertise, I simply noted that I am not a doctor.

Anyway, yep you got me. I showed up on a forum for a show all about fact, with a story and an opinion... Fair enough to call for something more substantial, but I don't have it.

Regardless, I still stand by my original statement. Taking a moment to digest before swimming is a good idea. Lets just call it my 2c.

 
PDR
670158.  Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:38 pm Reply with quote

The myth being dispelled on that show was the one about suffering stomache cramps if you swim too soon after eating. Notghing to do with vomitting or refluxing. The advice is usually to wait 30 minutes, and the amount of "digesting" that goes on in 30 minutes is pretty minimal.

PDR

 
soup
670259.  Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:36 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
the amount of "digesting" that goes on in 30 minutes is pretty minimal.


Especially if the food is carrots which have a half life of 2.3 gagillion years in the gut.
Ever been sick five hours after you have eaten anything, there is still carrots in 'it'?

 
zomgmouse
670289.  Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:03 am Reply with quote

I know that the swimming myth was debunked, but something my parents always told me not to do after eating was heavy exercise including jumping, and also lying down, especially on your stomach.

 
PDR
670297.  Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:15 am Reply with quote

Whereas I was left to discover for myself (at the age of six) the inadvisability of having a large family lunch and then lying on your BROTHER's stomache. It wasn't pretty, and the lesson stayed with me.

PDR

 
Izzardesque
672398.  Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:45 am Reply with quote

soup wrote:
PDR wrote:
the amount of "digesting" that goes on in 30 minutes is pretty minimal.


Especially if the food is carrots which have a half life of 2.3 gagillion years in the gut.
Ever been sick five hours after you have eaten anything, there is still carrots in 'it'?


Arent' the carrots actually supposed to be stomach lining or something?

 
crissdee
672463.  Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:31 am Reply with quote

I remember reading in an old Reader's Digest about some guy in (I think) Canada in the late 19thC/early 20thC who suffered some injury to his stomach which healed in such a way that there was a hole left via which doctors could investigate the digestive process in a living person. They discovered that excercise reduces the flow of digestive fluids. Thus it would seem that swimming/volleyball/Wii tennis/whatever is generally a bad idea.

It was also noted that human digestive fluid is the most pwerful natural solvent in the world, and given time it will digest bone!

All the above is from memory of reading the article a couple of decades ago. I'm fairly sure my dad still has the book on his shelf, I will try to check it out next time I'm round at the folks for sunday lunch.

 
PDR
672489.  Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:36 am Reply with quote

It's not a solvent - it's hydrochloric acid IIRC.

PDR

 
AlmondFacialBar
672560.  Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:21 pm Reply with quote

it's hydrochloric acid plus a couple of enzymes. and it's definitely not the strongest of its kind. some species have stomach juices strong enough to digest prey animals in their entirety.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Eric the Underwriter
672577.  Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:45 pm Reply with quote

Impact is the key factor here.
Belly flop can cause injury very easy. Basicly it's a big sucker punch to the stomach.
It is not swiming!

 
Jenny
672946.  Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:29 pm Reply with quote

Hello Eric - we don't see you around often, but you always have a good point to make when you post :-)

 
crissdee
677202.  Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:42 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
I remember reading in an old Reader's Digest about some guy in (I think) Canada in the late 19thC/early 20thC who suffered some injury to his stomach ...etc....


Seems my memory of decades old reading was little off. The incident happened in 1822 in Michigan to a guy called Alexis St Martin. The doctor reported that:

"Gastric juice is the most general solvenbt of food in nature, even the hardest bone cannot withstand its action"

Also. it seems that it was hot, humid weather that was seen to suppress digestion, not excercise.

 

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