6 Beach Health Hazards You Didn’t Know About – And How To Avoid Them

From sandflies to pinkeye, the beach is a sand trap for all things nasty



As temperatures soar, beaches are filled with men in their board shorts, bikini-clad women, ice cream vendors and sun-bathers all wanting to soak up some Vitamin D. However, there are some things that one should try and avoid.

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By using these tips you can make your beach day disaster-free by dodging these seaside health hazards.

Sandflies

Unlike mosquitoes, which prick your skin, sandflies (miggies or moth flies) gnaw into you with their tiny teeth before proceeding to suck up your blood. They do not carry disease but they may leave you covered in itchy bumps that usually last for a week.

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Banish the bites by applying an insect repellent before you hit the dunes and every time you dry off after a swim, avoid scratching your skin can lead to infection.

Food Poisoning

Many South Africans contract food poisoning every year and since a warm environment is where bacteria breed faster, cases tend to spike during the summer, says Dr Ted Epperly, Men’s Health advisor. Symptoms include diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and a fever.

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Pack smart by stashing spoilage-prone foods, such as meat and mayo, deepest in your cooler; it’s recommended to eat them within half an hour of taking them out.

Pinkeye

Expertly, says “Salt water isn’t sterile”. It is actually polluted water that harbours bacteria which causes pinkeye or conjunctivitis. The more time you spend splashing around, the higher the chances are that you end up with itchiness, redness, discharge and tearing.

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Flush out the pain by rinsing them with tap water a few times over two hours. If your symptoms worsen, see a doctor as you may need eye drops.

Jellyfish

Out of 2000 known jellyfish species only 70 cause serious harm to humans: If you do happen to get stung, expect a painful burning; reddish, rash.

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Burn it out by scraping out the stingers with a credit card and soak the area in water just hotter than a hot tub (42°to 45°) and avoid having someone pee on you. Heat changes the toxin’s protein structure to neutralise pain.

Septic Tank

E.coli from animals (or rather, their poop) and run-off from sewers and septic tanks can live on warm sand, if you’re infected , you can expect to have diarrhoea within a day.

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If you’re really worried, should use a hand sanitizer before digging into your cooler which could cut the crap.

Rip Currents

If you thought sharks were your number one underwater enemy, you’re mistaken. According to the regional lifesaving co-ordinator, Ed Schroeder- rip currents are behind the majority of rescues and drowning’s.

Beware the calm, yes it might be a wonderful thing but not when you’re in the ocean, as moves at speeds of up to eight feet per second, rip currents can move faster than an Olympic swimmer, according to the National Ocean Service.

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Look out for the quiet spots but if you do get caught, try escaping by swimming parallel to the shore, go with the current once it’s subsides, try again.

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