Warm sun, soft sand, and cool surf – a day at the beach should be just a day at the beach, but often it's not. At the beach you anticipate a day of fun, but while there you face potential dangers like sunburn, heat stroke, jellyfish stings and shark attacks. These dangers are to be expected at the beach, but there are some additional threats that you can't see. In fact, the presence of so many people combined with the ocean's natural tendency to circulate things results in a petri dish of illnesses in the water and on the sand. Here are three maladies you can easily get while at the beach, and what you can do to prevent them.
MSRA Staph Infections
This is the grand-daddy of all staph infections because it is resistant to many antibiotics. MSRA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is normally contracted in hospitals and other health care settings. It also likes to live in subtropical ocean waters which pound the coast of the entire southern half of the United States. This is not surprising, given that MSRA eats salt as a nutrient. Bacteria in the water or on the sand can enter your body via a small cut while you're swimming, surfing or playing in the sand.
Staph infections like MSRA appear as tiny red bumps that slowly grow larger. Eventually, the bumps turn into large abscesses that can penetrate your body and threaten bones and organs. Extreme cases can morph into pneumonia or wounds of such severity that they require intravenous fluids and surgery. To help avoid getting MSRA after a day at the beach, make sure you wash your body with soap and clean water, especially if you have any existing cuts or wounds. Consider covering any cuts thoroughly with bandages if you want to spend time at the beach, and don't get them wet.
It's a warm summer day, and the kids are out of school, so why do you feel like you're getting the flu after visiting the beach? There are several reasons why, and their names are Salmonella, Giardia, norovirus and E. coli. These and other stomach bugs are responsible for giving you diarrhea and making you throw up. The majority of them come from fecal matter either washed ashore from a nearby treatment plant of left there by an animal.
Think twice before you let your children bury you in the sand, and try not to swallow sea water at the beach. You can get infected simply by putting your fingers in your mouth or eating your picnic lunch with infected hands. Normally the flu just runs its course and you feel better in a few days, but it can be dangerous for children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. For them, the flu can be deadly. Wash your hands thoroughly before you eat or drink anything at the beach.
Cercarial dermatitis, or swimmer's itch, is a parasite carried by birds and other animals and often found in the water. The microscopic larvae usually prefer snails as their host, but a handy human swimming nearby will do just as nicely. The larvae burrow into your skin and cause an allergic reaction on your skin. Within a few hours small red bumps or blisters appear, and quickly begin to itch and burn. Fortunately, the larvae do not live for long and the itching goes away by itself in a few days. However, scratching the skin could lead to an infection. Instead, use an anti-itch cream. Make sure you shower after swimming to wash off any parasites.
If you plan to visit the beach this summer, take the necessary precautions to help prevent infection. Check the contamination status of a beach before you go. If you think you have been infected after visiting the beach, visit your doctor to make sure. For more information, contact a clinic such as Entira Family Clinics.