To ensure a safe day at the beach, keep these tips in mind anytime your family hits the beach.

Swimming Safety Tips
• Know how to swim! Never swim alone, swim in groups and avoid secluded beaches.
• Always swim where a lifeguard can see you and in areas that are marked for swimmers to use.
• Ask a Lifeguard about Beach and Surf Conditions before swimming
• Don’t swim out too far.
• If you are in trouble, call or wave for help. Never pretend to be drowning. The lifeguard may take you seriously.
• Don’t swim close to piers or near fishing areas.
• Face the waves, instead of turning your back on them.
• Know the signs of a rip current, be on the lookout and warn others if you see a rip current.
• Look for, read and obey All Beach Safety Signs.
• Don’t ever dive. Go feet first.
• Avoid swimming at night, dawn or dusk.

Remember to:
• Ask lifeguard about ocean conditions.
• Never swim alone!
• Don’t swim out too far.
• Educate yourself on rip currents.
• Swim in front of a lifeguard.

Rip Currents:
In some places swimmers may encounter strong undertows or rip currents. Rip currents are so strong that they can carry swimmers away from shore before they know what’s happening. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore (alongside the shore) rather than toward the shore until the water stops pulling you, then swim back to shore. If you can’t get back to the beach, tread water and wave for a lifeguard’s help.

If caught in a rip current:
• Remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
• Never fight against the current.
• Think of it like a treadmill that cannot be turned off, which you need to step to the side of.
• If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
• If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arm and yelling for help.

Tips on how to Treat a Jellyfish Sting:
Getting stung is no fun. It can hurt and blister your skin. A common jellyfish sting should be treated by rubbing wet sand on the area and using solutions from a first-aid kit, including vinegar, ammonia and aloe vera gel. Use ammonia to treat jellyfish stings with tips from a street firefighter in this free video on first aid and medical treatments.

Jellyfish are most common in warm ocean waters, especially along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Stings result from contact with the tentacles, which trail from the jellyfish’s see-through body. Jellyfish swimming in the water are often hard to see and eve a beached jellyfish, can sting if touched.

Fortunately, most jellyfish stings are not severe. Jellyfish stings cause immediate, intense pain and burning that can last for several hours. Raised, red welts develop along the site of the sting, often in a whip-like fashion. Itchy skin rashes may appear 1 to 4 weeks after the sting. Extensive stings, allergic reactions, or severe toxic reactions are not common but do occur.

Protection from the Sun
While some exposure to sunlight can be enjoyable, too much can be dangerous. Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can result in a painful sunburn. It can also lead to more serious health problems, including skin cancer, premature aging of the skin, and more. Children are particularly at risk.

Help Keep the Beaches Clean:
Beaches are America’s top tourist destination, generating more than $640 billion a year for the U.S. economy. A recent survey by National Geographic Traveler and Yahoo! Travel found that, “cleanliness was the most important factor in picking which beach to go to…” (Source: Plan ahead and bring a trash bag with you on your next trip. If you are having fun with your family and you take food or beverages to the beach – please keep your area of the beach clean.

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