As we head off to the coastlines and beaches across the United States, many parents will eagerly prepare the family for potential health complications ranging from sunburn to heat exhaustion.
For some families, however, there are health risks that are often overlooked; that of skin irritants. For this reason, when preparing your family for the next trip to the beach, remember to pack the first aid “must-haves” to treat, and prevent, skin irritants.
First, and foremost, is the risk of developing a skin irritation known as “ocean itch”. Commonly seen a few days after swimming in ocean water, “ocean itch” is a skin irritation that appears as a few red bumps, usually around the breast and groin area. This skin rash will tend to be quite itchy. Without creating fear, you must know this itch is the result of jellyfish larvae which become imbedded in your swimming suit.
To prevent “ocean itch”, when your family has finished swimming in the ocean water, immediately bathe in a vinegar and water bath soak as this will destroy any larvae that may be present on the skin. If you suffer from this complication, continue using the vinegar and water bath soak and apply hydrocortisone cream three times a day. Encourage your children to immediately remove their swimming suits after swimming in the ocean and never allow them to bath or rinse with the swimming suit still on.
In addition to “ocean itch” your family may also be at risk for poison ivy when visiting the coastline. While we generally consider poison ivy as a threat when hiking in mountainous terrain, your family may also be at risk when frolicking along the beaches. To prevent poison ivy, be sure to educate your family in the appearance of poison ivy and when they are uncertain about its presence, avoid the area of growth at all cost. As a contagious rash, poison ivy rash will generally appear within 48 hours of exposure to the plant’s oils. Using a preventative lotion, such as Ivy Block, may help to ensure your family’s risk for poison ivy can be significantly decreased. In addition, if someone in the family is exposed to poison ivy, you can purchase over-the-counter astringent rinses for use while traveling.
As with any safety planning for your family vacation, remember to pack and prepare for even the rarest of conditions. While you may pack triple antibiotic ointment, pain reliever, bandages, remedies for sunburn, band-aids, alcohol, Q-tips and cotton balls, do not forget to pack white vinegar, hydrocortisol cream, insect repellant, a bottle of Ivy Block and a poison ivy astringent cleaner. In doing so, you can ensure your family will have a fun, and safe, vacation at the favorite beach and coastlines in the United States.