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Sharp Health News

Sand, sun, surf … and stings?

June 23, 2020

Ocean waves and shoreline

Now that beaches in San Diego are open again, it is important to keep some safety tips in mind. When we think “beach safety,” we usually think of swimming accidents — diving in too shallow water, getting caught in riptides or receiving a beating in heavy waves. But there are other threats at the beach that can turn a fun day outdoors into a less fun visit to the local emergency room.

Dr. Asia Takeuchi, emergency medicine doctor at Sharp Coronado Hospital, says the Emergency Department at Sharp Coronado sees a number of stingray-related injuries this time each year.

"Stingrays like to warm themselves in the shallow water and can blend in easily with the sand. Shuffling your feet when walking in the surf may help to scare them away,” says Dr. Takeuchi. While stingray stings rarely turn into something serious, they can cause tremendous pain, and sometimes become infected, especially if part of the barb remains in the skin. Most beaches have warm water bath “stingray stations.” Be sure to go to the lifeguard station if you think you were stung.

Other problems include burns from coals or embers left in the sand by beachgoers, or broken glass and other sharp items that can cut tender bare feet.

"Every summer, we tend to see cases of very bad sunburn," says Dr. Takeuchi. "Especially this summer, as people are not used to being outside as much with the stay-at-home order, it is important to remember to apply and reapply sunscreen.”

Another thing to think about is adequate hydration and food safety. “We tend to see more cases of heat exhaustion and food poisoning cases during the summer months,” says Dr. Takeuchi. “Remember to always have plenty of water with you and keep food appropriately packaged and cooled if you are going to be out for a while.”

Jellyfish, bad falls from a surfboard, and head or joint injuries sustained during beach games are just a few other complaints that are received in the emergency room. Knowing your limits, being responsible and keeping a sharp eye can prevent such mishaps.

“Coronado beaches are a gorgeous place to soak in the sun and sand. The goal is to enjoy a beautiful day with your family, not to spend your afternoon with me in the Emergency Department,” says Dr. Takeuchi.

If you do find yourself having to visit the emergency room this summer, Sharp Coronado is taking all necessary safety precautions to keep the community healthy and safe. And for emergencies that are not life- or limb-threatening, you can reserve a time with Sharp Coronado’s convenient online scheduling at sharp.com/coronadoscheduling.

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