Your first-aid kit for the beach

Unfortunately, sunscreen alone won’t protect you from injuries when you’re at the beach. Packing a first-aid kit for possible mishaps will ensure you can enjoy your day, worry-free!

Here’s how to prevent and treat common beach injuries:

Jellyfish stings

Jellyfish don’t go after people, but if you happen to come into contact with one while swimming, you’re highly likely to be stung Download the book cover. Unfortunately, you can even get stung by dead jellyfish laying on the beach. The good news is that in most cases, other than a red mark, itchiness, numbness or tingling, a jellyfish sting isn’t fatal.

Here’s what to do:

First-aid tips:

  • Don’t pull tentacles off unless you have gloves as they can still sting you. Use a flat surface to scrape off any tentacles (e.g. your driver’s license or bank card).
  • Don’t urinate on the sting – it could cause stingers to release more venom.
  • Rinse the sting with seawater first and then vinegar. Vinegar is often used to treat stings because the acidity in it helps neutralise the venom. Lastly, soak in warm water.

Injuries from running in the sand

It’s hard to imagine that fluffy sand could do serious damage, but the slopes of a beach could. The surface of the beach often alternates from extremely hard to soft.

The most common injuries from running in the sand include ankle sprains or knee sprains. Avoid injuries by sticking to waking on “flat sand” and avoid running on the beach unless you’re wearing supportive shoes.

First-aid tips:

  • Keep cold packs in a cooler box in case of any injuries.
  • If you sprain your ankles or a knee, wrap (or ask someone to) your ankle or knee with a bandage and apply a cold pack to reduce pain and swelling. It should be applied for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
  • Elevate your injured limb.
  • Get home to rest as soon as possible.
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Skin cuts

Cuts on your feet from broken shells, glass and even grains of sand are common if you’re at the beach. The easiest way to avoid this is to wear shoes or flip flops at all times.

First-aid tips:

  • Always keep a clean bottle of water with you to clean any cuts.
  • Use plasters and bandages to cover any cuts.
  • For deep cuts, see your doctor as you may need stitches.

Sand flea bites

Sadly, frolicking at the beach could mean sand flea bites. Sand fleas are most likely to strike at early morning or evenings near the water. Sand flea bites are often more painful and itchy than mosquito bites and could cause a rash or a fever.

First-aid tips:

  • Don’t scratch sand flea bites to prevent an infection.
  • Pack calamine lotion, ice or aloe vera gel to soothe minor bites.
  • Pain killers can help with pain but see your doctor for a severe reaction like a fever or severe allergic reaction

Sunburns

Though preventable, sunburn can be common. Prevent this by avoiding sun exposure, especially between noon and 3pm when the sun is extremely harsh.

First-aid tips:

  • Always keep sunscreen in your beach bag. Apply a minimum of 50 SPF sunscreen generously before you go outdoors, reapply throughout the day and especially after swimming. Don’t forget your ears and the back of your neck.
  • If you have sunburn, get out of the sun immediately, drink lots of water and soothe your skin with a non-greasy moisturiser. Massage it in gently.
  • For severe burns that include blistering and a fever, see your doctor immediately.
  • For children younger than one years old, any sunburns should be treated by a doctor.

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