Beware of the Beaches

March 1, 2012
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During the summer, the beach is the place to go. Everyone everywhere is headed to the sandy shores to tan, cool off, and just relax. Although after reading my article you may think twice before you take that first dip. I have come to realize that there are many dangers at the beach just waiting for their next victim. I am writing this to inform all the beach lovers of what they should be afraid of and what they should do if they are in a life threatening situation.

One thing that most people think of when they hear the word danger is underwater creature attacks. Many would think the shark is their greatest fear, thanks to the movie Jaws, yet they’re wrong. Shark attacks tend to be over exaggerated by the media and newspapers. When in reality sharks tend to fear humans more than humans fear them. It is also rare that someone swimming in the chilling waters would even see a shark because sharks prefer the tropical ocean and in the last couple years 50% of shark species have been killed due to commercial fishing. Although shark attacks may be rare, they do occur, especially by Great White, Tiger, and Bull Sharks. If for some reason you find yourself in the jaws of death do not play dead or panic. Instead, defend yourself as much as possible by clawing and punching the shark in its most sensitive area such as the gills, eyes, and nose. If you happen to escape, just swim to shore and get emergency care because normally a shark attacks only once and won’t come after you again.

Another animal to watch out for is the jellyfish. The most common jellyfish is the Scyphozoans. This jellyfish is nothing to worry about, if it stings you, you will only get a sting like a bumble bee and then an itchy red rash that should last for about a week. Although then there is the Box jellyfish. The Box jelly has lethal poison on its tentacles that can cause a spike in blood pressure, stop your heart, and even kill you. So I recommend wearing protective footwear in order to protect you from a surprising sting.

Most people do not worry too much about bacteria when they go to the beach, in fact it is known that the oceans salty waters can heal cuts. Even though this may be true, bacteria like Superbugs and E. Coli are lurking in the waters and sandy beaches looking for a nice body to call home. Superbugs are a form of bacteria that just happens to be resistant to most antibiotics. This nasty bug has become so bad that it has made headlines in a few newspapers throughout America. Some symptoms go from a serious skin infection to life-threatening infections in bones, lungs, and other organs. That’s why I advise that you take a shower before and after you swim just to make sure those critters aren’t sticking around.

E. Coli, like Superbugs, is a type of bacteria found in ocean waters and shores. Throughout this past summer there have been many beach closers do to the spreading of E. coli. Some symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and a mild fever. So in order to protect from getting this horrible disease scientist suggest washing hands and trying not to swallow ocean water.

Lastly there are the most common and fatal dangers on the beach. This is sunburn and Rip currents. More times than not people go outside without sunscreen on looking for that perfect golden brown tan. Little do they know that little tan occurs do to the fact that ultraviolet rays are zapping through the skin and killing living cells that work to make new skin. People always just tend to brush the tanning comments to the side, although by lying on a towel in the baking sun causes genetic mutations to cells and can lead to cancer. Basically they are shortening their life just by lying in the sunlight. That’s why it is suggested to apply sunscreen with at least 30 spf every 2 hours and to stay in the shade as much as possible.

I consider rip currents to be the most life-threatening thing in the ocean and statistics would agree with me because 100 plus deaths have occurred from rip currents in the U.S this year and 80 percent of rescues have been for people drowning in rip currents. Rip currents are narrow, fast moving streams of water that can occur at any beach. They occur when the waves break strong in some places, while weak in others. I have been caught in a rip current before. As much as I tried to swim away it felt like something just kept tugging me under. I soon panicked and was screaming for help. Unfortunately for me, my family and I were at a beach with no life guards. Although when my mom saw me struggling to set free from the rip currents tight pull, she ran to the shore instructing me to swim sideways and not against the current. Even though I had become week I escaped and was thankful that I calmed down enough to follow my mom’s directions.

We all love the beach during the summer time, and most of us will continue going to the beach no matter what the dangers are. Although I hope now you know what to watch out for and what to do if you are in a life-threatening situation.

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