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Proactively Deal With Beach Dangers

By Expert Author: www.cheapfares.com

It would be a shame to ruin an otherwise well planned out beach vacation made possible via a thorough review of cheap travel options, including cheap fares, cheap deals, cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, cheap auto rentals, discount travel deals, and cheap vacation packages, because you failed to take steps to protect yourself against known beach dangers.

Beaches can be dangerous because of hazardous plants and animals, pollution, and dangerous wave conditions.

The following are common beach dangers that you should be aware of when visiting the seashore, according to Smarter Travel:

• Rip currents, also referred to as riptides or undertow, are powerful channels of water near the shoreline that flow away from land. Often difficult to see, rip currents are responsible for 80 percent of lifeguard rescues and over 100 Americans dying each year.

Never swim alone and try to swim where there is lifeguard supervision. Be aware that riptides often form near piers and jetties. To free yourself from a riptide swim parallel to the coast to escape the current, then swim at an angle back to shore when you are free from the undertow.

• There has been an increase in shark attacks in recent years with 2013 marking the highest number of shark attacks in the U.S. in 10 years. To minimize your chances of encountering a shark, do not swim at night, do not thrash around in water, do not swim too far from shore, do not swim with horses or dogs, and do not go in the ocean if you are bleeding. The good news is that your chances of dying from a shark attack are less than one in three million.

• Harmful blooms of algae, sometimes called red tides (though they are not always the color of red), can contain toxins that cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and even death. Harmful algae blooms in water sometimes appear black, white, green, blue-green, brown, purple, or red, with a texture of cottage cheese, thick soup, crust, or a film in the water. If you see anything like this, stay out of the water.

• Falling coconuts that typically weigh around nine pounds can drop 100 feet to the ground causing serious injury. The blow of a tumbling coconut can exceed one metric ton. Do not place your towel near palm trees, particularly on windy beaches.

• Every coastal state in the U.S. has at least one polluted beach. Water contaminated by sewage, storm water pollution, or other hazardous substances can make people very sick, including causing infections, hepatitis, and stomach flu. Visitors to American beaches can check beach cleanliness ratings on websites such as the NRDC.

If you start feeling sick after being in the water, clean your skin with soap and water, use mouthwash, and see a doctor if necessary. Avoid swimming at beaches with nearby discharge pipes or at urban beaches after a heavy rainfall. Stay out of murky or foul smelling water, and when you have an open wound or infection. Also swimming without putting your head under water reduces your risk.

• Sunburn is the most common danger at the beach. Destinations near the equator tend to be more perilous, since low latitude destinations receive stronger, more direct rays of sunlight. Ocean water reflecting the light of the sun can increase the severity of ultraviolet radiation. In the continental U.S. the sun’s rays are most harmful between 10 am and 4 pm, particularly in late spring and early summer. Sunscreen (a minimum SPF of 15), shade, protective clothing, and tightly woven fabric can help avoid sunburn.

• Poisonous Manchineel trees produce green apples that can be found on Caribbean beaches. These poisonous apples can cause blisters in the mouth and throat, and the tree’s leaves and sap are toxic. Stay far away from these trees and do not use them for shade since dripping poisonous sap can fall on you. Never eat from or touch strange plants on beaches.

• Jellyfish are sometimes harmless but some species are capable of ending life. Sea nettles, the most common jellyfish species on the northeastern coast of the U.S., can cause rash and painful muscle cramps. You should cover your skin with a wet suit or a rash guard in waters where jellyfish proliferate. Check jellyfish reports and advisories via local health and safety officials to know when to stay out of the water.

• Shore breaks occur when waves continue to build and crash with full force on the shore with little or no water depth instead of breaking on a sandbar. Shore breaks have resulted in neck and spinal injuries and even death. Given that ocean water can appear deeper that it really is, never dive headfirst into water unless you are certain of its depth. Ask a lifeguard about wave conditions and stay away from dangerous waves.

• Stingrays can be very dangerous to feet. Rays’ stings tend to be very painful. Most stings occur at ankle level because rays tend to whip their barbed tails and respond with biting stings when treaded upon. When walking in shallow water where sting rays might reside, shift your feet back and forth vs. taking steps forward to scare of nearby rays hiding in the sand.

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