Some helpful safety tips:
Bugs can be a nuisance at the beach. There are some clothing companies now designing travel wear for bug protection, but there are also simple steps to take to assist with keeping the number of bites down.
I swear by Skin-so-Soft products by Avon. I have no personal stock in Avon, but appreciate the protection without the harsh chemicals found in some of the other bug protection sprays. I am not saying they don’t work. They do. But I like the fact that something as simple as this product protects me. I hate the smell of it, but it is better than some of the smells from the other sprays. As an added bonus, your skin is amazingly soft at the end of your vacation.
Simply spray or rub the product on when you will be in a high-bug zone. Keep in mind that insect repellents can reduce your sunscreen’s SPF protection by up to one-third, according to www.dermatology.about.com. You will need to use a higher SPF and apply your sunscreen more often when using an insect repellent.
You may also want to pick up citronella candles or mosquito coils to burn while sitting out at night to chase away unwanted bugs.
It goes without saying that you should never, ever swim by yourself. That advice is good for any activity on vacation. You should never go for a walk, run to the store, whatever, without telling someone where you are going. Also make sure you have identification on you at all times. Since you are on vacation, carry your temporary local phone number. When traveling with my children, I always give each of them a card from the hotel for their pockets.
The United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) offers safety tips for swimming at the ocean that include: 1) Swim near a lifeguard. Obviously, if you get into trouble in the water, it helps to have a trained professional nearby for assistance. 2) Learn to swim. 3) Never swim alone. 4) Don’t fight the current. This one requires more explanation. According to the USLA, 80% of rescues at ocean beaches are caused by rip currents. They suggest that if you are caught in a rip current, don’t fight it but swim parallel to the shore until you feel the current relax. That goes against your natural instinct to swim to shore, but don’t panic. When you feel the current relax, you will then be able to swim to shore. 5) Swim sober. Anything is more dangerous when you have had too much to drink. Be wise and be careful. For more information and safety tips, visit www.usla.org.
By Kathleen Ganster