This Summer… Have Fun! Be Safe!
Carteret General Hospital’s Beach Reach Team reminds you to Have Fun. Be Safe. The goal of a vacation is to have a good time and return home safely with fond memories of the beautiful weather and the days at the beach. It is our goal to provide education on the most commonly seen injuries and questions concerning care during the summer months in our community. By analyzing summer patients, our Beach Reach Team developed the following beach and summer safety tips so you can avoid emergency visits. Follow these beach safety suggestions and you will protect the ones you love and yourself while creating fond memories.
Drink Lots of Water!
Hydration is the supply of water to the body in order to maintain balance. The human body, on average, is 70% water. This water is needed for the body to function. Salt, sweating, activity, the sun all use this water. So keep hydrated by drinking lots of water while at the beach. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include an increase in thirst, dizziness, confusion, fatigue and nausea. If systems are present, immediately get out of the sun and drink water. The best course of action is to prevent this dehydration by drinking lots of water.
Wear Sun Protection!
We all like a good tan, but the intent of a tan can quickly turn into a painful, unattractive peeling burn. Children are especially vulnerable to sunburn and MUST be protected. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going in the sun, using sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or greater and with products that have the Skin Cancer Foundation seal. Use hats, umbrellas, or awnings to provide shade whenever possible. Taking a break and reapplication of sunscreen every hour will prevent sunburn also.
Keep Your Child in Site!
Designate a Water Watcher when your child is swimming. Also, establish an eye catching beacon for your location – like a colorful umbrella or steps. That way, all will know where your spot on the beach is located. Also, keep your children hydrated, protected with sunscreen and require breaks in the shade. You are the parent. Your practices will be their practices.
Avoid Stingrays, Jellyfish, Oyster shells and Fish hook Injuries!
Stingrays have a sharp barb that can impale the skin and cause extreme pain. First treat the sting with water as hot as you can stand it. You may need to be evaluated by a medical professional if the pain is extreme or if the barb is still in your skin.
Jellyfish stings bring a lot of pain as well. First treat with vinegar soaks for 15-30 minutes. NEVER use regular water as it will make it worse. Regular water causes continue release of the toxin, the acetic acid in vinegar makes it stop. There are some commercial products you can have in your beach bag as well. You will need medical treatment if you have signs of an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing.
Oysters are razor like shells that live in mud or deep under the water. If you jump in water with oyster shells, it will feel like jumping into razors. Oyster shells have a lot of bacteria and the shells are hard to see. Medical treatment is needed to evaluate shell remains and to treat infection. Prevention is always best. Protect your feet when going into the water and be aware if you could be entering oyster habitats. Tetanus immunizations need to be evaluated with all cuts to the skin. Get a booster update if you have not had a tetanus immunization booster in the last five years and you have broken your skin. Visit www.cdc.gov for more information.
Remain Calm & Swim Parallel to Shore in Rip Currents!
There is no end to the power of rip currents and drowning danger. PLEASE visit www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov to familiarize yourself with the signs of a rip current. Respect how the power of prevention and awareness, calmness and knowledge can save your life! Know how to swim and never swim alone. Don’t fight the current. Instead, swim out of the current, then to shore. If you cannot escape, float or tread water while waving and calling for help. A calm person can tread water longer so it is better to calmly tread than to fight the currents.
Someone drowning may not be able to call for help or wave, they are simply struggling to push themselves up out of the water. If you notice someone with their head low in the water, mouth at water level, eyes unable to focus or eyes are closed, get them help immediately. Calling for help from the shore to help to save the victim is safer than going out and drowning yourself. The ocean is a natural force. It will not stop or slow down for you. PREVENT death and disability by respecting the beach and by respecting your own life.
This Summer Safety message is brought to you by the Carteret General Hospital’s Emergency Department Beach Reach Project!