Summer is in full swing and beach days are upon us. Whether you live near the beach or plan to have a beach vacation, there are many things to keep in mind when spending time at the beach. Taking several safety precautions when enjoying the beach will help prevent injury or death in relation to the water and weather.
Most likely if you are going to the beach, it will be on a day when the sun is shining and the temperatures are warm. Being exposed to sunlight without proper protection can result in sunburns and potentially skin cancer. According to the Sun Safety Alliance, children can get three times more sun exposure than adults. Even one very bad sunburn can double a child’s risk of developing skin cancer.
Being in close proximity to water poses a safety issue when lightning strikes. When you begin to hear thunder, you are most likely within striking distance of lightning. Do not wait to go indoors when a thunderstorm is approaching, even if there are still blue skies and sunlight.
The Marine Life
Oceanic creatures will be all around us when entering the water. The ocean is their home, and it is important to respect their environment. We do not want to disturb or cause injury to marine life, but if we encounter certain animals that can cause injury to us, it is important to understand the proper ways to protect ourselves.
Although movies like “Jaws” characterize sharks as violent, human eating creatures, in reality, sharks are more fearful of people and the risk of being bit by one is very small. However, beach goers should remain aware of sharks and learn what to do if they come into contact with one.
Stingrays are relatively harmless, however they have a long tail that is razor sharp with serrated barbs at the end that they use for defense. Stingrays will flick their tail upward if they feel threatened and could penetrate the skin if stepped on and release a venom. If stung, control the bleeding and have a medical professional remove the barb.
There are many different species of jellyfish. Jellyfish have tentacles that irritate the skin of a person that comes into contact with them. Individuals with severe allergic reactions from a jellyfish sting could go into anaphylactic shock and should seek immediate medical attention.
The ocean is a very powerful entity. Don’t be fooled by calm, flat waters. Rip currents could be all around you. A rip current is a very strong current that pulls the water and anything in it out towards the deep waters, away from the shore. A rip current is a major hazard for anyone not familiar with its force. Many people caught in a rip current will attempt to swim straight in to shore, expelling a majority of their energy. As they begin to panic from not making any forward progress, they become fatigued and drift further and further out to sea.
If there are not rip currents in the area, there is still a danger of rough surf. Repeatedly getting hit by strong waves can cause a swimmer to get tired and have difficulty making it in to shore.
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