6 common beach injuries – how to prevent and treat them
Beach emergency! 6 most common incidents and what you must know. A short essential guide by MD Thordis Berger
6 common beach injuries by MD Thordis Berger will prepare you to deal with the unexpected. Injuries do happen, and some specific injuries tend to happen at the beach. With some simple preparation, you can be ready for almost anything.
Here is a list of the most common injuries and how you may prevent them or be better prepared in case they occur.
One of the most common injuries at the beach is sunburn. While this injury is highly preventable, it does happen.
The best way to prevent a sunburn is to avoid sun exposure. Especially between noon and 3 pm, UV radiation is very aggressive. Find shade if you need to be outdoors.
Use a minimum of factor 15 sunscreen and apply generously before you go outdoors – and reapply after swimming, even if it’s waterproof.
Simple sunburns can be treated simply. Get out of the sun, rehydrate, soothe with a non-greasy moisturizing cream (but don't rub hard) and maybe offer some acetaminophen. And don't go back into the sun.
More severe sunburns that include fever and blistering -- and any sunburn in children under 1-year-old -- should be seen by a doctor.
Cuts, particularly on the bottom of feet, are common at the beach. In areas with a lot of shells, you may consider wearing shoes or sandals. Keep a small first aid kit and some clean water with you to clean out and protect injuries from further damage.
Deeper cuts may require cleaning and stitching at the local emergency centre, but your simple first aid skills and supplies should be the first line of defence.
Jellyfish don't go after humans, but someone who swims up against or touches one — or even steps on a dead one — can be stung all the same. If jellyfish have invaded a beach, it's probably best to stay out of the water.
Jellyfish stings leave thousands of very tiny stingers called nematocysts in the skin. These stingers can continue to release (or "fire") jellyfish venom (poison) into the body.
Do not scrape off any stingers still in the skin, because it is thought to make stings worse.
Research has shown that adding vinegar – a common remedy – is a good first step. The vinegar stops any stinging cells that haven’t yet delivered their venom from firing their venom load. DON’T wash the area with fresh water, as that encourages more cells to fire! Do not apply ice or ice packs to a sting.
Seek emergency treatment if:
- Stings cover large areas of skin
- You have severe symptoms or a serious allergic reaction
Sand Flea Bites
In many cases, a trip to the beach means a sand flea bite or several bites. A bite from a sand flea is most likely to occur at dawn or in the evening and nighttime hours on the beach or other sandy areas that are near water.
Despite its size, the bite from a sand flea is quite painful. In fact, most of the time the bite is more painful than one from a typically larger mosquito. In addition to pain, the bite causes a rash on the skin that can persist for several days. A fever may also occur. The welts or hives produced from bites are very itchy. Scratching the bitten areas should be avoided in order to prevent the development of an infection. Scratching will also prolong the symptoms of swelling, itch, and skin redness.
Treatment procedures and prevention steps for a sand fly bite are similar to those of mosquitoes.
Vacationing at the beach often includes the consumption of alcohol, which can lead to problems if you are not careful. Drinking alcohol in the summer heat can also cause a number of health problems such as hypoglycemia, heart rhythm irregularities, dehydration and weight gain. Dehydration can also increase the risk of having a stroke (especially for people with high blood pressure). Alcohol poisoning can occur when a toxic amount of alcohol has been consumed, usually in a short period of time. The affected individual may become extremely disoriented, unresponsive, or unconscious, with shallow breathing. Because alcohol poisoning can be deadly, emergency treatment is necessary.
Injuries from running in sand
Rarely consistently smooth and flat, the beach surface changes drastically from extremely soft to hard. In addition, the beach often slopes dramatically as it approaches the water.
The most common injuries from running in sand include sprains of the ankle ligaments of the ligaments in the knee. It is certain that the barefoot footprint is more anatomical compared to one with (tennis) shoes, but for beginners, running of tennis in the sand will be the best way to avoid injuries.
Now that you've got it all planned to enjoy a safe day at the beach here are some beauty treatments you need to try for before, during and after the beach.