May 9, 2016

It is time for the beach!!! Everyone is gearing up to enjoy the beauty of the sun baked beach and the cresting waves. In this article lets touch on remedies for beach vacation issues.


Statistically, shark attacks are still quite rare considering the volume of humans swimming in the ocean. Your chances of being bitten are 1 in 11 million. That being said, there has been a major uptick in attacks up and down the east coast. North Carolina had 25 attacks over a 10 year period ending in 2014. There were more than 8 attacks in the summer of 2015.

"The incidents are heavily dependent on weather and currents and are much more likely when the water temperature reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius) and when strong currents flow north along the coast, bringing bait fish. This year, those conditions appeared in April, and sharks soon followed, coming from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico." says Frank Schwartz of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

Avoid shark attacks by:
1) Not swimming at night
2) Avoiding areas where bait is dropped for fishing, i.e. around piers
3) Swimming during or after a storm
4) Do not swim with shiny objects on your body

5) Do not swim alone or far off shore
6) Do not swim with cuts or any bleeding locations on your skin

See full article by Brian Howard of National Geographic


What types are indigenous to the Carolinas?
Go to google to see images of the different types.

1) Cannonball - Mild venom
2) Mushroom - Mild
3) Southern Moon - Mild
4) Lion's Mane - Moderate
5) Sea Nettle - Moderate
6) Sea Wasp - Potent
7) Man O War - Potent

What to do if exposed?

First, assess the person for signs of anaphylaxis. Most important!!!! - Call 911 if you think that someone is reacting to a jellyfish sting with anaphylaxis symptoms. Use an injectible epinephrine pen if one is available. Get the person to a comfortable and flat position and raise their legs to preserve blood pressure. Administer CPR as needed based on Basic life support guidelines. I highly encourage all parents to learn BLS.

For more local reactions:

1) Apply a compress of vinegar or sea water and sand paste for 30 minutes. Then scrape off stingers with a credit card followed by an application of a compress of vinegar for 30 minutes to stop the venom release.

2) Do not rinse with fresh water. It can activate the venom.

3) Calendula cream or cortisone cream can be used for itching and discomfort


If you unfortunately get a sunburn, then apply aloe plant jelly directly to the burn. Commercial aloe products are available if necessary. As always, know your child's burn threshold and avoid it. Almost all children can tolerate 20 minutes of direct sun without a risk of burn. Remember that the sun is very beneficial for Vitamin D production via your skin.

Use sun shirts and hats when possible. Use 30 Block sunscreen from reputable sources like Aveeno, Blue Lizard, All Terrain, or see's list. No spray on suncreens, unless you fancy your lungs with chemicals in them. I know that I do not want that stuff sprayed near my kids.

Swimmers ear:

To prevent this issue, I recommend using a kleenex tissue and rolling it into a needle to introduce into the ear canal at the end of the swimming day. This removes the water from the canal in a wicking fashion. Thus preventing the bacterial growth and then an infection. This is simple and effective. Never place anything firm into the ear canal for risk of injuring the tympanic membrane.

Treatment with topical antimicrobials is very effective when the first signs of swimmers ear develop. Infected children often complain of severe ear pain when the posterior ear is pushed forward.

Enjoy the beach this summer!

Dr. M