We’re halfway through the summer season and most likely, you’ve gone through a few trips already. A favorite destination of many is none other than the beach. In fact, Americans take about two billion trips to the beach each year! That’s according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
There’s no activity more fun and relaxing than to soak some sunrays, cool down in the water, make some cute little structures out of the sand, and hear the therapeutic splashing sound of the waves.
Unfortunately, the reality is that it’s not always fun.
A supposed to be relaxing beach escapade can turn sour for many reasons, including illness and injury. With the ever-increasing crowd in beaches, the spread of illness-causing bacteria is really high especially during the summer season.
Surely, it’s so relaxing to lie on the sand with your bear skin. But did you know that the wastewater bacteria present in the sand decays at a much slower rate than the wastewater bacteria found in the water?
Gastrointestinal illnesses are a major concern too. Seawater can contain various types of bacteria, including E.coli. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, headache, and stomachache.
Bacteria in the water and sand can also cause irritation in the eyes, ears, skin and upper respiratory tract, especially among children.
And of course, you shouldn’t forget about that scorching effect of sunburn on your skin.
Best Hygiene Practices in the Beach
Wash hands regularly
The simplest and most effective way to protect yourself from most forms of illness-causing bacteria is to wash hands regularly. Take frequent trips to the restroom to wash hands with soap and warm water, especially before and after mealtimes, after using the restroom, changing nappies, and getting hold of dirty stuff.
Bring hand sanitizer and alcohol
No restroom nearby? It’s a great idea to bring alcohol and hand sanitizers always during your family trips. Make use of spoon and form or table napkins or food wrap when getting food. As much as possible, you don’t want your hands to be directly touching and possibly contaminating your food.
Bring plenty of disinfecting wipes
Disinfectant wipes are very convenient to use and dispose. You can easily and quickly clean surfaces, including your mobile devices that have probably gotten exposed to hundreds of bacteria already. Just make sure to dispose your wipes after use properly to avoid the spread of germs.
Sunburn is very common during any trip to the beach. Among the most important hygiene and personal care items you should not go without is sunscreen. Sunburn may seem like something that will just wane after a few days. But did you know that experiencing five sunburns at any age can double a person’s risk of melanoma, a type of skin cancer?
Hydrate and fuel up
You might be surrounded with water. But your body dehydrates quickly when you’re at the beach. Not only does dehydration lowers your energy level and causes disorientation, it can also lower your immune system, thus, making you more vulnerable to illnesses.
It sure is more fun to stay barefoot on the sand. But if you have cut or wound in the feet, the more careful you have to be. You can avoid potential infection by wearing foot covers or a pair of reef shoes. These will also protect you from injuries like cuts and scrapes from broken corals, shells, shattered glasses, and other sand hazards.
Don't lie down directly on the sand
Limit the risk of fungal infection by laying out a straw mat or rug on the sand before you lie down. As much as possible, you want to limit skin contact to the sand.
Make sure babies don’t eat sand or put their hands in their mouth
It’s common for very young children to put their hands in their mouth and play with the sand. Don’t leave them unattended as they may ingest germ-filled sand. Also, never let them swim or play in the sand naked. Very young kids are at risk of a benign infection of the genitals.
Always cover food and drinks
Never leave food containers open. And don’t leave them under the sun. Make use of proper containers or coolers. Also, do not leave leftover food. Bring a trash bin or bag so you can take home your garbage and dispose it properly.
Avoid bringing your pet to the beach
While some beach resorts would allow pets, animals are often forbidden for hygiene purposes.
A family vacation at the beach is no doubt one of the best summer activities ever! However, before everything else, you want to make sure that you and your family are safe the whole time. You don’t want to be going home immediately because you have to take someone to the doctor. Hopefully, these beach hygiene practices can save you and your family from potential life-threatening beach hazards.