The Most Common Beach Injuries

The idea of a day at the beach usually involves a relaxing afternoon of sand, surf, and games, but surprisingly often it results in a trip to the emergency room. Yes, things like shark attacks do occur, and precautions should be taken to avoid incidents like this every time you go to the beach. In truth, you are actually much more likely to get attacked by the surf itself or cut upon many of the objects that find their way upon the shore.

To help you have a good time at your next seaside adventure and prevent injury or even life-threatening situations, keep an eye out for the following 10 injuries next time you want to make your way to the beauty and fun of the coastline.

Sun Stroke

1. Sun Stroke

Even when they understand the ordinary pain of sunburn, people tend to underestimate the real damage the sun can do. Severe sunburns requiring emergency care may be less common a problem than ones that leave the skin peeling, but one thing, sadly, is common: heat stroke.

A heat stroke occurs when the body gets heated over 105.1°F and can quickly wreak havoc on your internal organs. Dizziness, seizures, headaches, nausea and worse can all happen, with the possibility, after some time, of organ failure and death.

So keep the sunscreen slathered on, take breaks in the shade, drink plenty of water and remember that the sun is as much a danger as it is an invitation to outside enjoyment.


2. Alcohol Poisoning

As many people perhaps already know, the sun and overconsumption of alcohol don’t mix well. However, persistent heavy drinking on the beach remains a norm. Young college students on spring break, for example, can easily find themselves getting hauled off the beach to prevent them from going into a coma.

Comparatively speaking, though, heading to the ER with too much alcohol in the blood is a preferable scenario to other things that could happen. The risk of drowning or serious injury is much larger when you’re severely intoxicated. Limit your drinks, stay hydrated and keep an eye on your friends to avoid turning fun into something serious.

3. Cut Feet

Walking barefoot along the surf is a peaceful and overall quite safe activity. Yet plenty of people end up in terrible pain when they neglect to wear the proper footwear on the beach. The sand and surf can hide all kinds of jagged shells, fish hooks, broken pieces of glass and more, making heel and foot injuries common results from careless strolling on the sand.

4. Broken Collarbones

Like the sun, the surf is much stronger and more dangerous than people usually want to think. The water current can easily bowl you over and contort your body as it pushes you along, leading to serious injuries. One of the most common of these is a broken collar bone, which happens when the upper body, shoulders or neck are quickly forced into a painful or unnatural motion.

5. Dislocated Shoulders

Like the last injury, dislocated shoulders are pretty common water-related injuries, particularly among surfers. If you do want to surf the waves, never try anything bigger or more demanding than you are sure you can reasonably handle. Practice with smaller waves and simpler motions before you work up to stunts.

6. Cuts on Legs, Thighs, Torso

Many people swimming too closely to boat hulls, pier pilings, and other structures find out the hard way just how rough, almost like a cheese grater, barnacles can be.

7. Jellyfish Stings

You are more likely to meet a jellyfish than a shark while swimming around, so keep an eye out for them. Jellyfish give painful stings that can land you in the ER.

8. Sprained Ankles, Broken Bones

Whether on the beach or in the surf, sports activities at the beach carry with them a fair risk of sprains and breaks. Beach volleyball players are common victims of sudden ankle sprains, while those who love surfing can often have their equipment slam against them, breaking a few bones in the process.


9. Head and Neck Injuries

The last of the surf-related trauma, but definitely the most severe: head and neck injuries are all too common at the beach but often underreported. Victims could easily end up paralyzed or in a coma if the force is great enough.

10. Drowning, Exhaustion

People who go out too far from the shore or who fail to account for just how powerful rip currents are usually cannot make it back on their own. They often panic, fighting the current and bringing themselves to near exhaustion. A lucky few only end up with a bit of water in their lungs. Around half of all lifeguard rescues are related to rip-tides, according to Live Science.

But the rest are not so lucky. Many people end up disappearing, leading to extended search and rescue missions from the Coast Guard where the hope of survival dramatically goes down with each passing minute.

Never underestimate the power of the ocean and exercise caution. Stay within your limits to bring back only the good kind of stories from beach vacations.

If you find yourself in a vicarious position from an outdoor accident, you will need an attorney. Napoli Shkolnik in New York specializes in these types of injuries.

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