Americans take nearly two billion trips to the beach each year according to the Environmental Protection Agency. As summer approaches and temperatures rise, more people will be planning their trips for a beach getaway. Jumping in the water to escape the heat is a great way to cool off and burn a few calories while spending time with family or enjoying a solo vacation.
So, whether you’re looking for a tropical destination or a nearby beach, we’ve got your summer guide for keeping hygienic and safe during the hottest months of the year.
Protect your skin
While you may know that sunburn is bad for you, it’s important to be informed about exactly how detrimental to your health even one blistering burn can be in the long term. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, getting a sunburn at a young age that causes your skin to peel and welp can double your chances of getting melanoma later in life. Even if the burn seems mild, getting more than five of them in a year at any age can double your chances of certain types of skin cancer. It is critical to your future health to protect your skin. Lather up with some sunblock and try some of these tips:
- Don’t forget about your lips and eyes – these body parts get sunburned, too. Wear sunglasses and make sure your lip balm has sun protection.
- Reapply sunscreen often, especially if you’re in the water often and even if it’s water resistant.
- Don’t avoid hard-to-reach areas. Our hairline and scalp can be difficult to protect but are also some of the most susceptible areas, as a physician will have less visibility to check for potentially health hazardous moles. Wear a hat!
Keep your eyes out for flags
Warning flags, posted along all public beaches, will tell a swimmer if it’s safe to swim in that area at the time. But if you’re expected to follow these warnings, you have to know what they mean:
- Green means conditions are calm, and the water is safe.
- Yellow means that the currents are moderate, and swimmers should exercise caution, remain alert, and stay near a lifeguard’s post.
- Red means that there are strong currents, strong winds, or large surf. Only adult swimmers should get in the water and remain at waist level. Children and non-swimmers are advised to stay out of the ocean.
- Purple is flown when there’s dangerous wildlife that’s been recently spotted, like jellyfish, sharks, or stingrays.
- Orange indicates an environmental warning, like air or water quality, and is usually flown with other flags.
Fun all day in the sun may leave you susceptible to injury or depress your immune system. This is especially true if you don’t hydrate or if you’re in direct sunlight for hours, which can deplete your body.
Don’t ignore the cut on your foot from the shell or rock. Wash if off, apply an antiseptic, and bandage it. And if you’re feeling ill, there are a few things you can catch while at the beach:
- Swimmer’s ear, which can be worsened by micro abrasions from sand in the ear, is common in children.
- Schistosome cercarial dermatitis, or more commonly known as ‘swimmer’s itch,’ is caused by a parasite that lives on beaches and attaches to fish and aquatic birds. When humans are infected by the parasite, itchy rashes appear along the infection site.
- Pink eye is most commonly transmitted through water, spreads quickly and is often exasperated by sand and heat.
Most of the illnesses or infections contracted at a beach can be easily remedied, so don’t wait for the problem to fester. See a physician as soon as possible if you’re worried you or a loved one might have caught something on your island vacation.
Grand Parkway Emergency Center staff is made up of highly-trained doctors and nurses that are always ready to help your family. Our facility is open 24/7 with concierge-level emergency care for all ages.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers Grand Parkway Emergency Center and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Grand Parkway Emergency Center, A Department of OakBend Medical Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.