2017-06-01 / City Stuff

Follow beach safety rules

Let’s have fun at the beach, but let’s also be careful.

A few critters out there can put a real crimp in your day at the beach, and you should be on the lookout for them.

A stingray can deliver a painful sting by slapping a victim with its long tail and puncturing the flesh with its barb.

Stingrays don’t attack unprovoked, but sting when they feel threatened, such as when a wader accidentally steps one. Avoid this by shuffling your feet while wading.

Dr. Bruce Russell, who has a medical practice in Port Aransas, said anyone hit by a stingray should immediately get to a doctor. If the stingray’s barb remains in the wound, the doctor will need to get it out and clean the wound. The victim also might need a tetanus shot and an antibiotic, Russell said.

Immersing the wound in hot (but not scalding) water can provide pain relief.

Man-of-war jellyfish sting with their tentacles. Pouring fresh water and then vinegar on a man-of-war sting can reduce the pain.

Benadryl or a similar over-the-counter drug also can tone down the body’s reaction to the jellyfish toxin.

Also on the subject of beach safety:

• Beachgoers should wear sunscreen and hats to protect themselves from sunburns.

• Visitors should keep in mind that waves can hold swimmers under water, possibly thumping them against the hard sand bottom.

•A rip tide – a current that moves from shore toward the horizon – can carry a swimmer far offshore. Get out of a rip tide by swimming parallel to shore, not directly against the current, until breaking free.

• Folks should watch out for undertows, which can suck a beachgoers under water in front of waves, just before the waves break. If you get sucked under, relax and let the wave break over you, and the undertow will let go after a few seconds.

• Beachgoers should stay out of the sand dunes. Snakes are known to lurk there.

• Folks should reconsider going into the water if they have compromised immune systems or even minor open wounds. Naturally occurring bacteria could cause an infection.

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