Tips to Stay Safe in the Surf and Sand at the Delaware Beaches
Are some people more likely to burn?
Yes. The most susceptible are people who are blue-eyed, fair-skinned, tan poorly or have red or blonde hair.
Should I use a sunblock?
Yes. There is evidence that sunblock helps prevent skin cancer and sunburn and slows the aging effects of the sun. Use a sunblock with the highest number, preferably 15 or greater, if you are more likely to burn.
Sunblock should be applied at least once an hour while you’re in the sun and more often if you are perspiring or swimming. The sun is most damaging between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Use a sunblock with a higher protection factor on the areas that are more exposed: the tip of the nose, ears, collarbone, top of the feet and shoulders. On your lips, use only those products designed for that area. Keep all sunblock and sun medications away from the eyes.
Can medications add to sun sensitivity?
Yes. Some examples are Tetracycline, diuretics and major tranquilizers, such as Thorazine or Stelazine. These have the potential to cause a bad burn from an amount of sun that would not ordinarily be harmful.
What should I do about a bad burn?
Take a cool bath—not ice cold—and don’t use bath salts, oil or bubble bath. Take it easy on your skin—no scrubbing, no shaving. Use a soft towel to pat the skin dry. Try a sunburn remedy or first-aid spray, one with lidocaine or benzocaine, for quick pain relief. Use a light moisturizer and a dusting of powder to ease chafing. In general, try to stay out of the sun. If the sunburn is severe, if you blister or if you feel faint or nauseous, see a doctor immediately.
Your Children and the Sun:
Children under 1 year of age should be kept out of the sun. Use lightweight, light-colored clothing, and always cover their head with a hat. Use a sunscreen with a protection factor of 15 for best results. Apply liberally and often. Don’t use a sunblock with a protection factor of more than four on children under 6 months of age. There is a possibility that the skin may absorb the chemical, and the child’s system may not eliminate it.
Since 80% of skin damage occurs in the first 20 years of life, it’s up to the parents to jumpstart their children on a lifetime of protective skin care.
While jellyfish look beautiful and harmless, their tentacles are an entirely different situation. The tentacles are long, spindly appendages that hang from the underside of the jellyfish. When they come in contact with the skin, the result is a red welt and severe pain. Gently wash the area with a mild soap and water, then apply liberal amounts of meat tenderizer (MSG, Accent, etc.) to the still-wet area. Benadryl will help lessen the reaction. If the reaction worsens, see a physician.
Beach Safety Tips
- Holes dug on the beach can be no deeper than the knees of the smallest person in your group, and must take up a small area.
- Do not leave any holes unattended, and fill it back in before you leave the beach.
- Only swim when lifeguards are on duty (10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.)
- Do not leave children unattended near the water.
- Do not swim near fishing piers, wooden pilings or rock jetties.
- No swimming or wading in designated surfing areas.
- Pay attention to signs and flags, and check with a lifeguard regarding beach conditions.
Tips for Rip Currents
- Rip currents can form in large open areas of water, including low spots and breaks in sandbars, or near structures such as jetties and piers.
- If caught in a rip current, swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline.
- If you are unable to swim out of a rip current, float or calmly tread water to conserve your energy.
- If you observe someone in distress in the ocean, do not enter the water. Get help from a lifeguard or call 9-1-1.