We find that many people have made their way to the coast, be it the warm waters of the Durban shore, or the much cooler waters of Cape Town, the holiday isn’t over without a visit to the beach, and despite the scorching hot sun, people go in their hundreds!
We have compiled a list of Tips and Safety Precautions when visiting the beach this festive season or at any time!
Learn to swim before heading to the beach: It saves lives. If your kids aren’t strong swimmers or are just learning how to swim, make sure they stay close to shore.
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen: Reapply often, and use broad-spectrum lotion that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Young children require a higher SPF sunscreen than adults because their skin is actually thinner and more susceptible to UV rays. Apply lotion 15 to 30 minutes before heading outside for optimal absorption. Other sun-protective measures: wear a hat and sunglasses.
Actively supervise your children at all times: The number-one problem at beaches is lost children. Make sure you and your children/family Know where you entered the beach, where you will place your blanket, and where you will meet if and when you become separated.”
Only swim where a lifeguard is present: Swim ONLY in the stipulated times, and in the supervision of lifeguard/s. Make sure you swim in the designated swimming zones which are marked with Swim Flags.
Never swim alone—even if you’re a strong swimmer.
Beware of rip currents: Ask a lifeguard if there are rip currents at your swimming location. On escaping rip currents: Rip currents are powerful channels of water that flow perpendicular from the beach; they can sweep swimmers far from the shore.
To get out of a rip current:
- Remain calm.
- DON’T fight the current.
- Swim parallel to the shore: rips are usually narrow; swim left or right until you no longer feel the current. Then swim to shore.
When healing from sunburn, remember to stay out of the sun while it heals. Here are some other tips for treating young children:
- Apply cool compresses or take a cool shower to help extract the heat.
- Aloe vera gel (make sure it’s pure): Apply it liberally to affected areas. It’s cool and soothing, and speeds up healing.
- For severe burns, apply hydrocortisone cream.
- When the burn peels, don’t scratch it! The sensitive skin beneath is tender and vulnerable to infection.
Identifying Heat Stroke
Heat stroke and heat stress occur when the body’s temperature control system shuts down and the body heats up rapidly. Children are much more susceptible to heat stroke than adults, though heat stroke is a serious, life threatening ailment that kills more than 20 percent of sufferers. Common characteristics of heat stroke include:
- Hot, red, dry skin (with heat exhaustion, moist, clammy skin can occur)
- Wavering consciousness
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Erratic pulse: fast or slow
- Keep person laying down, move to a shady location
- Using ice packs, or wet towels, to cool parts of the body near large blood vessels: armpits, wrists, neck and ankles.