Follow this beach and sun safety guide for an effortless summer break
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While you may want a spontaneous beach day, planning is vital. When at the beach, swim only where and when lifeguards are on duty and swim between their red and yellow flags.
Rip currents are the greatest cause of drowning accidents along the coast. A rip current is a section of water that flows fast out to sea against the incoming waves. Anyone caught in a rip current will realise they are being swept out to sea faster than they can swim towards shore.
If you are caught in a rip current, here’s what to do:
• Do not panic and do not try to swim against the current. Let the current take you out to sea. It will not take you more than a few hundred metres and will not pull you under the water. There is no such thing as an undertow in the sea.
• Raise one arm in the air and wave for help to alert people on the shore that you are in trouble.
• The rip current force gets weaker the further out to sea it gets. At the first opportunity, swim parallel to the beach until you are free of the rip current and then use the incoming waves to aid your progress back to shore.
Check your surroundings at all times. No matter how safe a place seems, it’s best to remain alert even on holiday.
Minimalism is key
Sure, you want to flash your latest smartphone or watch, but those expensive items may lure criminals. Take essential items and leave the bling back at your hotel. If you are carrying valuables, keep them safely hidden.
Long hours in the sun could result in heat-related conditions such as sunburn, heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Babies and young children have a higher risk of developing heatstroke, which occurs when the body’s core temperature increases beyond 40°C.
It can cause an individual to slip into a coma or suffer organ failure and can be fatal if not treated properly.
The symptoms of heatstroke include nausea, headache, vomiting, fatigue, muscle cramps, aches and dizziness.
Other symptoms include a high temperature with dry, flushed skin and an absence of sweating, as well as a rapid pulse and trouble breathing.
It is vital to get your child’s body temperature down to prevent the risk of organ damage. If possible, and if they are conscious, place the child in a bath filled with cool or tepid water and keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t lose consciousness.
Don’t use very cold water as it can cause peripheral circulation to shut down, thereby preventing the heat from escaping the core of the body.
Alternatively, move the child into the shade and remove outer clothing. Give the child water or isotonic drinks containing electrolytes.
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