Beach Bummers – Beach Injuries and Safety Tips

Jun 20 09:14 2012 Lawanna Brock Print This Article

If the beach looks empty except for you, your kids, your friends, and your lawn chairs and cooler, look again. Chances are you are in an area that has a high count of marine creatures. Lots of sea life call the beach and ocean home.

If you have ever stepped on a sea urchin,Guest Posting piece of coral, or a barnacle, you know what I’m talking about. They are reminding you and your family to take good care of their habitat while you visit. Tell your kids to look but don’t touch and be a good guest and don’t litter.

Sorrowful Stings and Brutal Bites from Jellyfish and Man-O-War

Jellyfish and Man-O-War are living animals even though they look like plant life. They also look fragile but they are not. If your child gets stung from a sea creature, you can expect pain. It will be a strong, intense burning with associated redness. She may even develop a hive type rash with raised itchy spots on your skin. First, get her out of the water to dry land. Next, rinse the area with saltwater, not fresh water. Fresh water makes the little needles (called harpoons) squirt even more venom. Don’t rub the harpoons with sand, either. To remove the stingers from jellyfish, scrape, don’t pull or squeeze. Use any flat, thin object (like a credit card) but don’t use tweezers. Finally, give your little one something for pain.

Even if a jellyfish or Man-O-War is lying in the sand not moving, its tentacles can still sting you. Don’t touch it thinking it is free of stinging potential because it will hurt. If your child develops muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, blistering, or an allergic reaction, take her to the emergency room fast or call 911. According to researcher Lawanna Brock, the signs of infection at the site include:  increased pain and redness, streaking, milky discharge, fever, and foul-smelling pus.

Cruel Cuts and Painful Pokes from Coral, Sea Urchins, Barnacles, and Starfish

Sea urchins poke deep puncture-type wounds in their victims. Coral can shatter and leave itty-bitty pieces of itself in the wound. This means that if your child comes in contact with these creatures, she has a high risk for infection. If this happens, get some sticky tape and put it over the area. Many pieces that are embedded in the skin will simply lift out. You should expect her to cry with pain and not from just the cut, these critters are venomous. Barnacles are like sharp knives, so expect cuts, redness, and swelling.

The first thing you should do is pick out any large pieces or spines with tweezers. Stop the bleeding by applying firm pressure with a clean cloth or gauze. When it has stopped, rinse the area with salt water, known as the ‘marine rinse’ and avoid use of fresh water. Flush out any debris or dirt, too. Next, elevate the wound to help stop bleeding and swelling.  Offer some type of anti-inflammatory medication to the child. Ibuprofen is good for this.  Once you get the child home, soak the wound in hot water for around an hour. In order to break down the toxins, the water must be around 110 degrees.

Did I Mention Prevention?

Look but don’t touch. This sounds easy, right? You should teach your child about these sea critters before she goes to the beach, so she will be aware of what’s going on.

Wear aqua socks or water shoes. These are those rubber and fabric shoes that protect little toes and feet in the water. Buy them for everyone in the family so no one has a mishap.

Look around. Teach her to take a look around every little bit when she is playing in the water. Jellyfish tend to float on the top of the water and are easy to spot.

What a Kid Can (and Can’t) Do in an Emergency at the Beach

First aid for kids is about knowing how to prevent injury, knowing how the body works, and knowing when to get help. This may surprise you, but even young children need to know about basic beach first aid, reports researcher Lawanna Brock. There is a lot your child can observe, tell, and do that can make someone more comfortable, prevent an injury from getting worse, and actually save a life.

Your child can….

  • Tell a grown-up anytime she or someone else is stung by a sea creature or bee.
  • Recognize the signs of infection before it becomes serious.
  • Perform the Heimlich maneuver when she or someone else is choking.
  • Warn a friend who is at risk for sunburn.
  • Help keep a friend calm until the grown-up gets there.

Preventing Shock on the Beach

Should your child or someone’s else’s appear like they may go into shock, there are a few things you need to be aware of. First, preventing shock is a very important part of first aid. Shock is a dangerous failure of blood to reach all the areas in the body that needs it. Shock can result from many different situations, like a large blood loss, a severe response to an allergy or bee sting, or severe stress. The skin will become pale, cold, and damp (clammy like). The child may become anxious with a rapid heartbeat and may lose consciousness. Keep the child calm (and stay calm yourself) and cover with a blanket to help maintain body temperature.

Pack-Along Beach First Aid Kit

Lawanna Brock advises that there are a few essentials that you should have available. Here is a simple car kit or pack-along kit for provision of first aid:

  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Band-Aids
  • Bulb Syringe
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Elastic Bandage
  • First-Aid Tape
  • Gauze Pads
  • Gauze Wrap
  • Hydrocotisone Cream
  • Ice Pack
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Scissors
  • Sling
  • Soap
  • Tissues
  • Tweezers

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About Article Author

Lawanna Brock
Lawanna Brock

Lawanna Brock is a successful medical writer certified through the American Medical Writers Association. She is working on her Ph.D in Health Psychology from an accredited university. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, cooking, and swimming.

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