Keys to avoid the most common health problems on the beach

Summer is synonymous with vacation and beach for the Spanish population. According to the latest Observatur report on “Habits and behaviors of the national tourist” , 40% of Spaniards choose the month of August to travel, and 23% do so in July. Of the total, 37% will go to a coastal destination.

Spending the holidays on the seashore entails, in many cases, long days at the beach that require taking a series of basic precautions to avoid the possible health risks of sun exposure or prolonged periods in the water.

” Burns, otitis or heat strokes are some of the most frequent problems on the beach, but they are not the only ones,” says César Morcillo, head of the Internal Medicine Service at the Sanitas CIMA Hospital. «In order to enjoy your vacations at sea without taking risks, prepare in advance and consult your doctor if you have any doubts. Prevention is the best way to avoid these situations. ”

Keys to keep in mind

  • Take care of your ears: High temperatures invite you to cool off in the water. This practice favors the appearance of the so-called otitis externa, produced by the contact of the ears with fungi and bacteria. 84% of the external otitis that occur in summer are spread on beaches and swimming pools ; the combination of water and heat favors its spread. To avoid this infection, the ideal is to prevent the entry of water into the ear canal and dry the ears well when leaving the sea . In case of detecting otitis symptoms, it is essential to consult a specialist doctor to prevent the problem from worsening.
  • Stay hydrated: Water has different functions in the body of a human being, in addition to being part of the blood. It is responsible for lubricating the joints, nourishing the brain and spinal cord and, of course, maintaining the ideal body temperature. Hence, it is especially important to maintain good hydration on the beach, where temperatures are high and sun exposure more pronounced. It is estimated that an adult can lose around 1.5 liters of water an hour when he is producing sweat, so it is essential to replace that liquid. In addition to drinking water and avoiding sugary or carbonated drinks, drinking fruitlike melon or watermelon, with 95% water content, will help to replace lost liquids and avoid heat stroke.
  • Avoid solar overexposure: Exposure to the sun for long periods or without taking the necessary precautions carries serious health risks. Not using a photoprotector appropriate to the skin phototype, not covering the head with a cap or not applying sun cream on a recurring basis, can cause from premature aging of the skin to skin conditions such as skin cancer of various types, including most dangerous, melanoma. According to data from the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), it is estimated that 6,205 people will be diagnosed with cutaneous melanoma in Spain this 2019, most of it caused by the effects of the sun .
  • Protect your eyes: When our eyes are exposed to high levels of UV radiation, we need adequate protection to prevent possible eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, keratitis or even cataracts . Disregarding adequate protection can lead to even more serious problems; up to 20% of blindness cases worldwide are attributed to excessive or inadequate sun exposure. To reduce the risks, it is advisable to use sunglasses with full protection against UV rays and that have the quality certificate of the European Union to guarantee their effectiveness.
  • Minimizes the risk of injury: The beach is the perfect environment for practicing sports, but doing it without taking precautions can lead to injuries, both muscle and bone and joint. Stretching and warming up before doing physical activity, not exercising during the central hours of the day and adapting the type of exercises to your physical condition are some of the keys to practicing sport safely in this environment.
  • Pay attention to jellyfish and other animal stings: Jellyfish pests are frequent in summer on the Spanish coasts, especially on the beaches where the sea water reaches higher temperatures. In case of suffering a sting from one of these animals, the first thing to do is clean the affected area with saline solution and place ice through a cloth for at least 15 minutes. In the event that any tentacle or part of the jellyfish has become attached to the skin, it must be removed with tweezers . If possible, you should go to the nearest health care post, where they can give the affected person an antihistamineto moderate the allergic reaction and a pain reliever.


by Abdullah Sam
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