Dangers at the Beach
August 18, 2017
Americans love the beach. From Venice Beach, California to Miami Beach, Florida, over 151 million visitors travel to America’s most popular beaches every year. Are you planning on visiting the beach this summer? This popular summer activity can be fun, but it also comes with some health hazards. Stay safe with these Mindful tips.
- Polluted water: The water at the beach may look beautiful, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that many of our oceans are polluted with microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, and worms. These microorganisms contribute to diseases such as E. coli, norovirus, and shigellosis. The sewage overflows and boating waste that ends up in our ocean can cause many people to experience symptoms like diarrhea, respiratory infections, abdominal pain, cramps, and vomiting. Protect yourself from unsafe water by visiting the EPA Waters Geo website. It will provide you with water quality and advisory information for every U.S. beach.
- Dangerous sand: The same infectious microorganisms that can be found in the water can also be found in the sand. For instance, researchers have found E. coli in beach sand. Sand sinkholes are also very dangerous; in fact, numerous adults and children have died from falling into deep holes that people have dug on the beach. These holes collapse fast, burying the victims and making rescue or discovery a challenge. Protect your family by never leaving your children unattended while they play in the sand. Don’t dig holes that are any deeper than your child’s waist and be sure to fill in your holes before you leave the beach.
- Animal attacks: It’s not just the microorganisms in the water that can cause harm. Since 2006, there have been over 100 shark attacks in the U.S. (most occurring in Florida). Fortunately, a majority of the attacks were not fatal. It’s also important to be wary of jellyfish. According to the National Science Foundation, 150 million people around the world have been exposed to jellyfish. Five hundred thousand people were stung in Chesapeake Bay and 200,000 were stung in Florida. Protect yourself from sharks by swimming with others and wearing swimming shoes as sharks mainly attack people with bare feet first. If you do have to fight them off, aim for their eyes and gills if possible. Prevent jellyfish stings by wearing wet suits or dive skins when in the water. Also be sure to conduct water research beforehand.
- Surfing accidents: Surfing is a fun water sport and there are over 17 million active surfers in America. However, it can also be very dangerous. Common surfing injuries include lacerations, contusions, sprains, fractures, head trauma, and even eye damage (from the tip of the surfing board). That’s why it’s important to make sure that the weather and water conditions are safe before surfing. And if you’re a beginner, consider using a soft-top surfboard with softer fins.