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Your Health

Add safety to fun at the beach

beach safety

For many of us, nothing beats a day at the beach. If your leisure plans include enjoying some sun, sand and water, these tips will help you have a safe outing:

  • Pack plenty of liquids to drink, but skip those with alcohol or caffeine - fluids can help prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion, which can cause cramps and lead to potentially life-threatening heat stroke
  • Put foods that can spoil in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs - keep the cooler in the shade - toss any food that sits out for more than two hours - discard it after one hour when it's more than 90 degrees outside - this can help prevent diarrhea and other food poisoning symptoms
  • Use sunscreen and reapply every two hours immediately after swimming or sweating - choose a sunscreen labeled SPF 15 or higher
  • Swimmers should stay in view of the lifeguard and stay in water less than chest deep - never go swimming alone -obey warning signs related to high tides, strong currents and waves - keep an eye out for people enjoying watersports (such as jet skis) or sailing close to where you are swimming

Keep small children within an arm's length of you in the water. Approved life vests -- not "floaties" -- may be an option for kids or inexperienced adult swimmers.

  • Stay calm if you get caught in a rip tide, which can carry you into deeper water - swim in line with the shore, not against the current, until you are free from the rush of water - wave at the lifeguard if you need help
  • Don't touch marine animals, live or dead, and avoid protected wildlife areas such as sea turtle and seabird nesting locations - heed posted warnings about jellyfish, stingrays, or other dangerous sea life - when wading in the water, watch where you walk and shuffle your feet - some sunscreens and sunblocks include ingredients that may help protect against jellyfish stings