When you think about a trip to the beach, you imagine swimming and laying in the sun.
However, a trip to the beach also means possible dangers. Here are nine hidden dangers lurking near the sand:
1. Rip Currents
Beach lifeguards perform over 80% of their rescue operations because of rip currents.
Rip currents, or undertow, are strong channeled water currents that flow away from the shore. The powerful currents pull swimmers out to sea.
You can look out for rip currents by checking the local beach forecast for water conditions, or asking the lifeguards when you arrive at the beach.
Make sure to only swim at beaches with lifeguards present, and use a life jacket if you’re not a prolific swimmer. Remember, rip currents form on sunny days too.
The currents pose more danger before hurricane season, in the months of September and October.
If you are trapped in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore. Swim back to the shore at an angle with the rip current after you’re out.
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2. Shore Breaks
A shore break occurs when the waves break onshore rather than in the water. Shore breaks hit with a similar impact to a car crash.
You can suffer spinal cord, neck, and back injuries if shore breaks hit you. Shore breaks pull children into the water as well.
Check the local weather forecast before you arrive at the beach, and check the tide and surf forecasts too.
Never assume you know the beach conditions if you visit a beach at regular intervals.
Talk to the lifeguards when you arrive at the beach. They’ll inform you of the current beach conditions and hazards.
3. Jellyfish, Stingrays, and Sea Urchins
A sting from a jellyfish results in rashes, burns, and, if serious enough, possible neurological damage. Lifeguards and local authorities place warning signs for jellyfish infestations in the water.
Check for the signs and avoid swimming if you spot a sign. Remember, jellyfish follow the motion of the current, and prefer shallow waters.
If you see a jellyfish washed up on the sand, steer clear as the creature can still sting if the tentacles stay wet. A torn-off tentacle stings as well.
If a jellyfish stings you, never rinse the wound off with water. The process releases more poison. Inform the lifeguards on the beach and they will offer first-aid. Visit a doctor if any allergic reaction shows.
While that’s a rare event, sting rays jab with their barbed tails if they feel threatened.
If you are strolling in shallow water, be sure to watch your steps, as stingrays stay buried in the sand. If you step on them and they jab you in the ankle, foot, or leg, you’ll experience immense pain.
A method for avoiding stingrays is to shuffle while you walk. Shift your feet back and forth when you step on shallow waters. The process scares stingrays. They’ll swim away before you step on them.
Sea urchins appear similar to coral, therefore you might not spot them as dangers. These sea creatures sting when you come in contact with them.
The sting leaves black shards and results in rashes, muscle pain, and joint pain. Remove the shards with a vinegar soak or tweezers.
Your kid digs a hole in the sand and you bury them inside. You leave the place after the fun is over, never filling the hole.
Adults who are unaware of the sinkhole might suffer a twisted ankle, or a child might fall into the hole.
When a person falls inside the hole, the sand fills the hole. This could cause the person to suffocate if not reached in time.
Scan the beach for any sinkholes while you stroll around.
5. Algal blooms
Algal blooms, or red tides, form in coastal waters. A small percentage of these algae prove toxic to humans and marine animals.
If you swim in the water with them and the toxin enters your body, it could cause vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress.
The algal colonies appear as a film, thick soup, or crust in the water. Their texture often resembles cottage cheese as well.
Avoid swimming in the water if you spot these colonies.
Scientists predict the time and location where algae bloom. Public health officials and coastal managers decide when to close beaches using this information.
6. Infections from polluted water
Failing septic systems, untreated sewage waste from boats and ships, and fertilizers pollute the water. This causes the level of bacteria and harmful chemicals to rise.
Swimming in polluted water can cause gastrointestinal diseases. Furthermore, you could suffer from conjunctivitis and ear infections.
Use ear and eyewashes to avoid infections, and always check for signs on water quality.
Local authorities test the water for the presence of contaminants. They close the beach if one or more contaminants exceed health standards.
E.coli causes bloody stools and stomach cramping. The bacteria most often attack children under the age of five.
Kidney disease and brain damage occurs in severe cases, so talk to the local authorities and lifeguards to know about the presence of E.coli in the water.
Low tides trap sharks near the inshore of a sandbar, or between sandbars. However, sharks attack humans in very rare cases.
The Florida Museum of Natural History has confirmed that less than one in three million people die from a shark attack.
However, still be sure to never swim too far from shore, and always stay in groups.
Sharks roam the water in twilight and darkness, so you should also avoid swimming in those hours.
If you have a bleeding wound, do not go swimming. Sharks have a keen sense of smell, and the smell of blood attracts them.
Avoid swimming with shiny jewelry and brightly colored swimsuits. Sharks misinterpret these for fish scales.
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9. Heat and Sunburn
A lot of people travel to beaches to lay in the sun. While Vitamin D is beneficial, too much sunlight results in a sunburn.
Severe sunburns age your skin and causes blisters, and prolonged exposure can cause you to develop skin cancer.
Continuously apply sunscreen when you’re at the beach. The CDC advises a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Also, drink 8-10 glasses of water to stay hydrated. Skin cells stay plump when you stay hydrated, and the plump cells protect the deeper cells.
Furthermore, wear clothes with tightly woven fabrics.
Listen to the experts
Local authorities and lifeguards offer the most updated knowledge on hidden beach dangers. It is important to listen to them and comply with the rules. You should also never plan a beach vacation without making travel medical insurance or travel insurance a part of that plan.
As we’ve discussed in this article, the beach is full of potential dangers that you need to be aware of. If you are unlucky enough to suffer an injury or illness on your next beach getaway, it’s essential to have insurance in place. It can allow you to receive the best medical care in a foreign country, with less worry about how much the bill will set you back. That way, you can spend your time enjoying some fun in sun.
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