iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — When you’re frolicking around the beach this holiday weekend, there’s only one thing on your mind: having fun.
That’s why ABC News has created a list of ways to stay safe while on the beach. So remember these tips as you’re working on your tan and hitting the waves:
What exactly do those beach flags mean? Although there are some small differences by region, for the most part the flags signal the strength of the current and the height of the tides. Two red flags mean the beach is closed, while a single red flag means you can still swim, but the water is extremely hazardous. A yellow flag means swimmers should exercise caution, while a green flag means the tide and current are conducive for swimming. There’s also two flags — dark blue and purple — that warn of sea creature dangers. If you see these two flags, beware of sharks, jellyfish and other potentially dangerous sea life.
More than 100 people each year drown because of riptides in the U.S., according to the United States Lifesaving Association. If you’re caught in a rip tide, first and foremost remain calm. Don’t try to swim against the current. Instead, swim parallel to the shoreline to escape the current. Once you’re safely out of harms way, swim at an angle away from the current and toward the shore. Still, if you can’t swim out, float or calmly tread water.
Mother Nature won’t be stopped even if you planned a fabulous beach day. Instead, the USLA offers these suggestions for staying safe in case lightning strikes: Avoid the water, beaches and pavilions along with any restroom facilities during a storm. Instead, take shelter in “fully-enclosed buildings that are grounded with wiring and plumbing” or “fully-enclosed metal vehicles.”
When swimming on a beach, you may be susceptible to jelly fish, crabs, sharks and a number of other potentially dangerous marine life. Although your beach should offer signs to make you aware of what’s in the water, it’s always best to check with lifeguards on duty who will have the most up to date information regarding anything lurking under the water. The USLA also advises to enter the ocean feet first so you can be aware of what’s in front of you and behind you.
Sun stroke, or heat stroke, is when a person’s temperature rises to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The results can be fatal and include hot, dry skin, inability to sweat, muscle cramps and shallow breathing. To stay safe, the University of Michigan Health System says to limit your fun in the sun. Along with wearing a wide-brimmed hat, choose light and loose-fitting clothing. Be sure to drink plenty of water regularly, even when you’re not thirsty. And when you’re on the beach, be sure to eat small meals and limit alcohol consumption.
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