Skip to comments.From jellyfish to sunburn, beach can hurt
Posted on 07/30/2005 6:12:25 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Tragic water accidents happen quickly. The most common reason for aquatic mishaps is a lack of safety knowledge. Lifeguards recommend the following safety tips:
Learn to swim
Swim near a lifeguard
Never swim alone
Supervise children closely, even when lifeguards are present
Don't rely on flotation devices, such as rafts, you may lose them in the water
If caught in a rip current, swim sideways until free, don't swim against the current's pull
Alcohol and swimming don't mix
Protect your head, neck, and spine don't dive into unfamiliar waters feet first, first time
If you are in trouble, call or wave for help
Follow regulations and lifeguard directions
Swim parallel to shore if you wish to swim long distances
No glass containers at the beach broken glass and bare feet don't mix
No beach fires except in designated areas fire residue and superheated sand can severely burn bare feet -- use a barbecue that is elevated off the sand
Never turn your back to the ocean you may be swept off coastal bluffs or tide pool areas and into the water by waves that can come without warning
Rip currents are the most threatening natural hazard along the coast. They pull victims away from the beach. The United States Lifesaving Association has found that 80 percent of the rescues effected by ocean lifeguards involve saving those caught in rip currents.
A rip current is a seaward moving current that circulates water back to sea after it is pushed ashore by waves. Each wave accumulates water on shore creating seaward pressure. This pressure is released in an area with the least amount of resistance which is usually the deepest point along the ocean floor. Rip currents also exist in areas where the strength of the waves are weakened by objects such as rock jetties, piers, natural reefs, and even large groups of bathers. Rip currents often look like muddy rivers flowing away from shore.
Rip currents are sometimes mistakenly called "rip tides" or "undertows." These are misnomers. Rip currents are not directly associated with tides and they do not pull people under.
Try to avoid swimming where rip currents are present, but if you become caught in a one, swim parallel to the shore until the pull stops and then swim back to shore. If you are unable to return to the beach, tread water and wave for lifeguard assistance.
Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Rip currents often exist along the side of fixed objects in the water.
Be aware of ocean conditions. Lifeguards are trained to identify potential hazards. Ask a lifeguard about the conditions before entering the water.
If you see someone drowning
Call 9-1-1 immediately. The National Spa and Pool Institute advises installing a telephone or using a cordless phone in any pool area.
If the victim is within throwing distance, throw a floatable object to them. This includes a life jacket, kick board or even an empty gallon jug.
If the victim is within reaching distance, assist them by extending something long, such as a rope, pole, ring bowie or a tree branch.
If you must enter the water to assist someone, take a flotation device large enough to carry two adults safety, says Jeff Ellis and Associates. Keep the device between you and the person in distress; even a child can put an adult at risk in deep water.
Jellyfish and other beach hazards
Jellyfish can be more harmful than they appear with long, spindly tentacles that can inflict red welts and severe pain. If you should happen to come into unfriendly contact with one, however, here are some remedies to ease your pain, provided by Beebe Medical Center Emergency Department.
Wash the area with sea water
Apply vinegar, or if it is unavailable, rubbing alcohol or baking soda
Remove tentacles with tweezers
Apply shaving cream and shave area with a butter knife or tongue blade.
Reapply vinegar and apply cortisone cream
A physician should be contacted immediately if any of the following symptoms develop: nausea, vomiting, joint pain, headache, shortness of breath or a stumbling gait. Some people rave about the benefits of pressing a fresh slice of papaya on the sting. Welts are supposed to disappear within minutes.
Coping with stings
Bees, hornets and wasps are among the more common stingers in our area and their stings can cause pain, swelling and redness for up to 2 days. Here are some ways to relieve the discomfort. To avoid stings, walk calmly away from insects and avoid wearing perfume or bright yellow clothes when outdoors.
Drag the stinger and sting sac out of the wound with a needle. As a last resort, a credit card can be used. Do not use tweezers because they could cause more venom to be squeezed out.
Wash the wound with soap and water and apply cold compresses to reduce the swelling.
Take an aspirin or Tylenol if you feel continuing discomfort.
If you experience dizziness or difficulty breathing, get emergency help immediately.
Basic sun safety tips
Limit outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the summer months. Therefore, play golf, tennis, swim, etc., in the early morning or late afternoon.
Wear a good pair of sun glasses to ward off the sun from your eyes and some kind of protection -- the looser the better -- on your head.
Clouds and particulate matter in the air scatter sunlight. Therefore, you may receive a "surprise sunburn" even on a cloudy day.
Some drugs and cosmetics Tetacycline, diuretics, major tranquilizers -- may increase susceptibility to sunburn because they contain substances that cause the skin to absorb more of the sun's radiation.
These "photosensitivity reactions" may also be caused by birth control pills. Your physician can advise you about medications that can cause problems in the sun.
Heat exhaustion is a disabling but not immediately life-threatening condition that occurs when the body becomes dehydrated through excessive sweating. Symptoms include:
Though heat exhaustion is not fatal, it can progress into heat stroke if these early warning signs are ignored. Immediate medical treatment (which involves re-hydrating and cooling the body) is necessary.
Heat stroke occurs when sweating cannot cool the body adequately and body temperatures rise to dangerous levels (even up to 106 degrees)--temperatures that can literally cook the brain. Symptoms include:
Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating);
Heat stroke can be life-threatening if not treated properly. Suspected heat stroke victims should be given emergency medical care immediately.
Can we NEVER escape the mommy-syndrome where we have to be told not to be idiots?
It is insulting to have to listen to this on the news. I can always hear when it's coming -- "Here are a few tips on how to keep safe while....." It ALWAYS follows something like a shark/dog/bear attack, or some such thing.
Sorry, it just annoys me to be treated like a moron.
I thought some might have your reaction but there are some good tips and things to watch for.
I did not know the treatment described for jellyfish stings, which I do know are very painful as my young brother suffered when we were children.
Hopefully, one person will read something here that will be helpful.
How lucky you are to already be so informed.
Jellyfish. I fear them more than sharks.
I had to chuckle at the "learn to swim" line.
By the way I find the articles that You post to be
interesting and informative. Keep up the good work:)
I learned about jellyfish in 1970, in Matzalan.
There were red flags up on the beach, with jellyfish on them.
That was all that was needed.
I didn't and don't consider that luck. It was the hotels' business to warn the folks.
I don't mean to be deprecating but those with brains will figure it out. Those with none will figure it out after they get stung.
But, perhaps it was a slow day in the news.
Did YOU get stung?
Oh yes, when I was a small child we lived in Florida for a few years. I was stung by pieces of jellyfish which you couldn't even see. I can still remember that to this day!!
Never mind all the safety stuff. All you need to know is get out the sun when you get hot, dont eat the sand, and don't stare at my wifes boobs. We'll all get along just fine.
We had no pools but we had the Potomac and Wicomico to swim in. We always used bottom mud or sand and rubbed it on the sting. Mud was better, although I don't know exactly why.
The only logical answer is some "common sense pool-swimming-beach control laws".
Well, it she puts them out there, front and center for all the boob-lovers to ogle at, then, what do you expect?
There are swim suits that cover boobs. There are also t-shirts. She has a choice to cover, uncover or, um, accentuate her boobs. It IS her choice.
She just might..... oh, never mind.
More is burning that the bbq...oh my achin' sunburn!
Legs, medium rare.
What is a ammonia pen?
You mean it bugs you when the weatherman on the local news tells you to dress warmly or take an umbrella??
But how would we survive without this?
Joe you must live close to me. I am a 7th District boy too. Got many a sting in my time, Shaking those jellyfish out of a haul seine net is a thrill you wont forget. I find Meat tenderiser works pretty good.