Common Beach-Related Injuries

Sunburn

The sun keeps us warm, gives us light and makes all living things grow. Our planet would not exist without the sun. But the sun also sends out harmful utlra-violet radiation (UVA and UVB rays), that can cause blistering sunburns, wrinkled skin, eye damage and skin cancer. Keep your skin healthy by following these skin protection tips:

  • Apply a waterproof sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and UVA/UVB (broad-spectrum) protection, 15 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming. There’s no such thing as all-day protection, even if your sunscreen is waterproof.
  • When possible, avoid exposure to the sun during the peak hours of 10:00 to 4:00, when the sun is strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing and sunglasses. Wear a hat, canvas is best, with a brim all the way around. Loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts and long pants made of tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. If this isn’t possible, wear a dry t-shirt or a beach cover-up and boost your protection by always wearing sunscreen.
  • Seek shade whenever possible.

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Cuts, abrasions and fractures

Cuts, abrasions and fractured or dislocated shoulders, wrists and ankles frequently occur from inappropriate use of sports equipment such as surfboards and boogie boards. To avoid these types of accidents, familiarize yourself with your equipment. Make sure it is the appropriate type and size for you, and know your limitations when using it.

Never bring glass containers to the beach. Broken glass, hidden under the sand, is a potential booby trap for anyone in bare feet.

Burns due to fire pits

Always assume that every fire pit is hot, even if it is full of sand and there is no smoke. People often attempt to extinguish a fire by covering the coals with sand. But instead of putting out the fire, the sand acts like an oven, allowing the coals to remain red hot for as long as 24 hours or more. Children, the most common victims of fire pit burns, may mistake the fire pits for sandboxes. Anyone who walks or falls on the coals can be severely burned, and a small child may sustain life-threatening burns.

When using a fire pit, please be sure to extinguish the coals completely with water, not sand!