Patricia’s LiFe…

April 18, 2008

Common beach-related injuries

Filed under: tips, travel — Tags: , , , — patriciaholdenmd @ 11:59 pm

With summer in full swing, I’m sure most of you are thinking of going to the beach for a vacation. It could be in Miami, French Polynesia, or even Bora Bora. Of course, there are unexpected events that can occur while traveling or even when at the destination itself. Here are some beach-related injuries and how to address or prevent them.

Kinetosis – It’s not beach-related but if don’t happen to live near a beach then you will surely have to travel. If you’re going to travel by commuting to your destination there’s a possibility that you may suffer from kinetosis or motion sickness. This happens when there is a disagreement between your perceived movement and the vestibular system’s sense of movement. You may feel dizzy, experience cold sweat, develop a headache, or worse, feel like vomiting (which would not help relieve motion sickness).

In case you run into the situation, let me give you some advice on what to do. One, if in a car or any other vehicle, try looking towards the horizon in front of the vehicle instead of the windows to your sides. Second is to take a nap, but be especially wary of passengers who might take your belongings. Of course prevention is still better than cure so try taking Dramamine or Bonine (you can purchase these over-the-counter) one hour before traveling.

DehydrationOf course, with the summer heat you’ll be sweating a lot. So try to replenish your body fluids with water every now and then – especially when you’re feeling dizzy or developing a headache. Those two mentioned could already be symptoms of dehydration, which could lead to unconsciousness and even death.

Sunburn – At the beach, try to stay under the shade as much as possible between 10AM to 2PM – the hottest part of the day. Overexposure to the sun could cause sunburn, especially if you do not apply sunblock to exposed areas of your skin. Try to avoid going into the water or make sure to reapply it afterwards. In case you do get sunburn, apply vinegar to sooth the pain. Pain-relievers or analgesics could also help. There is no immediate treatment for sunburn and it will heal in time.

CrampsI’m sure most of you who have tried swimming a few times would have already experienced having muscle cramps. Basically, a cramp is a painful, involuntary muscle contraction due to overexertion. This happening while swimming in deep water could be extremely dangerous. In case it does happen do not panic, immediately stop swimming, tread water, and relax to prevent further cramps from developing. Softly massage the cramped area then immediately move out of the water.

Eating potassium-rich foods could help prevent cramps from occurring so make sure to eat your potatoes. Other foods rich in potassium are avocados, bananas, and soybeans.

Jellyfish StingsJellyfishes are some of the creatures I fear when going into the water. When you are stung by one, focus on getting out of the water to get help. Isolate the infected part so as not to spread it on an another area. Rinse the infected part with seawater, not fresh water to prevent activating the nematocysts (jellyfish sting cells). Use forceps or protective gloves to remove the tentacles. Use pain relievers to control the pain and immediately seek medical help.

Make sure to remember some of these tips before heading out. Enjoy!