by Corky Carroll
Yes kiddies, this is my annual tips column on how to survive going to the beach this summer. As always, this is aimed at newbies and other non-beach-oriented people who might be a tad clueless when it comes to the hazards to your health from what would seem to be a fun day at the beach. For those of you who have read these in years past I suggest you stick with me and read this one too, just as a refresher in case you forgot any of this helpful information.
First off, and probably most importantly, that big ol' summer sun is not in any way your friend. Yeah, you are looking to put on a nice glorious golden tan and look all cool and weathered in your summer outfits. That’s all good and fine, but you need to do this without getting sunburned, and that is the issue that most people either overlook or are not aware of. Sunblock is your friend, your very very good friend. You will still get plenty tan no matter how much you use, and you should use plenty of it. Put it on at least twenty minutes before you go into the sun and reapply it fairly often. Yeah, it says it lasts all day and is water resistant and all that, but it lies. You need to keep using it, especially if you go into the water. I know that there are some of you with the opinion that you can hang out for a little while, getting “color,” before you apply any protection. This is a really bad opinion because you will burn. I cannot impress on you how important this is. Todays sunburn is skin cancer twenty years from now, trust me on that because I know all about it. Besides that, it hurts. Wear a hat too.
The next thing that is super important at the beach is having a good pair of polarized sunglasses. All those pretty sparkles on the ocean are a zillion tiny mirrors reflecting sunlight directly into your eyes, and yes kids….your eyes can get burned too. And they do. The sand is also highly reflective, just like snow. Sunburned eyes can lead to growths that your eyes form to protect themselves, I know all about that too. I have had the surgery to remove them and I can tell you right now that it is no fun at all. Well, unless you think having somebody cutting on your eyes while you are awake is fun. I, for one, am not into that kind of thing.
In short, the sun that you seek can really ruin your day if you do not know how to protect yourself from its little not so hidden hazards. Another one of these is that as the day progresses the sand gets hotter and hotter. People head down by the water and get a nice spot all set up for the day when it’s still cool. But then later in the afternoon when they pick up their gear and attempt to walk back to the car, or whatever, that stretch of beach between you and it has turned red hot. The famous “burning sands,” called that because they are actually just that, freaking BURNING sands. If you don’t have something to put on your feet you are in for a world of hurt. First you will start to hop, then run, then run as fast as you can while screaming as your feet blister right under you. This, once again, is no fun. And the total idea of going to the beach is to have fun. Getting burned is a bad thing.
Another very bad thing is dehydration. You need to take along water or some sort of electrolyte beverage. Cokes, coffee, beer and everything like that are all dehydrators. If you get dehydrated you will feel exactly the same as if you have food poisoning or what people call “the revenge.” The thing is more times than not when people think they have something like that it is dehydration. It is dangerous too as it can cause you to have a stroke, something you really do not want to have happen to you.
So, the quick version is protect yourself from the sun and drink a lot of water. Use sunblock, wear a hat and sunglasses and take along something to wear on your feet for when the sand gets hot. I will get to “in the water” hazards next week.