Beach Safety - Pediatrics Franklin TNVacations are great for getting away from the stresses of everyday life to relax. What better place to do that than the beach? Beaches are a fun idea for getting in some exercise and soaking up the sun’s vitamin D, but you don’t want your fun in the sun to be ruined by unpreparedness. If you plan on visiting a beach to swim in the ocean, be mindful of some important safety measures.

Staying Safe in the Ocean

Look for a Lifeguard

Ocean water is very different from pools. If you are not experienced in ocean swimming, make sure someone looking out for you – and always have someone with you when going for a dip. Beaches without lifeguards tend to be less crowded and more tranquil, but if you plan on swimming, it simply isn’t worth the risk.

Watch for Rip Currents

Rip currents can catch you when you least expect it and pull you under. If you are caught by a rip current, don’t fight it. Calmly swim parallel to shore to get out of the current, then try to make your way toward shore. Make sure the people on land can see and hear you if you are not able to make it back to shore so you can receive the proper assistance.

Beware of Jellyfish

On occasion, you may find yourself in an area highly populated by jellyfish. If you get stung, don’t panic. You may experience some burning or swelling at the site of the sting. For more severe cases, this could be accompanied by dizziness and nausea. Make sure you remove the stingers using salt water (not fresh) if needed, rinse with vinegar or baking soda for about 30 seconds, and use extreme heat or cold to numb the pain. Take a pain reliever pill and regularly apply lotion to deal with the discomfort until it heals completely.

Protecting Yourself from the Sun

The sun is another risk factor for beach goers. The sun can damage the skin over time causing a leathery look and, in some cases, skin cancer. Always put on sunscreen 15 minutes before exposure, and make sure it is waterproof if you plan on swimming. Reapply every 3 – 4 hours as well as after swimming. Adult sunscreens are fine. Use SPF 30 or greater for fair skinned kids. Apply lip coating that contains sunscreen also to protect the lips. Sunglasses that filter UV light, wide-brimmed hats, and light layers of clothing should be worn to protect your eyes and skin from sun damage.

The beach is a great place to get outside for relaxation and fun, but caution should be taken to prevent injuries and sun damage. Planning ahead can help you enjoy your time and get that breath of fresh air you deserve.