Summer is almost here! The season brings so many opportunities to get outside and have fun in the sun. Over 61 percent of Americans plan to travel this summer, and many of them will enjoy a beach vacation. Fortunately, for Central Florida residents, the sand and surf is just a quick drive away! If you’re planning a beach trip this summer, there are a few things you should know prior to your visit.
Tips for Your Next Beach Vacation
1. Protect your skin: Did you know that having over five sunburns in your life will nearly double your risk for melanoma? Yikes! Do your skin (and future self) a favor by applying sunscreen everyday. Experts recommend using at least SPF 30 and reapplying every two hours to give yourself maximum protection. Wear a hat and sunglasses to give your face some extra love. Pack an umbrella to decrease sun exposure even more.
2. Watch for warning flags: If you’re headed to a public beach, check out the warning flags before you head down to the water. Different beaches have different color flags and systems for warnings, so read the posted signs or ask a lifeguard to find out what the ocean is like that day. Strong currents, spotted marine life, and/or choppy water conditions are important things to know before going for a swim.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: The rays at the beach are strong. Swimming, walking, or running can wear you out more than you’d expect. It is recommended that you drink half your body weight in ounces each day, so be sure to bring more than enough water for you and your beach buddies. Proper hydration also decreases your risk of sun exhaustion or heatstroke, which can be fatal. Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, nausea, and more. If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, get out of the heat, drink water, and seek medical attention.
4. Beat the currents: Even if you’re a good swimmer, strong currents can be dangerous. If you find yourself being pulled out by currents, don’t panic. Flailing around can tire you out and increase your likelihood of drowning. Don’t swim against the current; instead, swim horizontally to the shoreline. Then, swim diagonally until you make it to shore. If you find yourself really struggling, wave your arms to signal that you need help. When you first get to the beach, pick a spot near a lifeguard to ensure that you have a trained professional nearby.
Look For Dangerous Sea Creatures
5. Watch out for sea creatures: When you get in the water, remember that you’re entering the home of thousands of sea creatures. While shark attacks are thankfully few and far between, there are other animals that can be dangerous.
6. Pay careful attention to jellyfish: Jellyfish have tentacles that release venom when they make contact with human skin, which can be pretty painful. If you feel a strong stinging sensation while swimming, immediately get out of the water and inspect the sting. If there are tentacles stuck to your skin, remove them with something flat, such as a credit card. Then, rinse your wound with saltwater from the ocean and reach for some vinegar. If you’re near a lifeguard, they may have vinegar on hand in case of jellyfish stings.
7. Look for barnacles and shells of clams and mussels: Barnacles and shells often have sharp ridges that can be very painful when stepped on. Water shoes are a great way to avoid these painful accidents (and save your feet from burns on the hot sand!). If you’ve stepped on something sharp and have an open wound, exit the water and rinse the spot with fresh water. Once the cut is clean, cover it with an antibiotic ointment and bandage it up.
The team at Platinum Primary Care hopes you have a safe and healthy beach vacation this summer!