Summer is, of course, prime beach weather. It’s time to pack your beach bag and enjoy the sun, the sand, and the water. As tempting as it is to just drop everything and go, a little bit of preparation is important. Before you head to the sandy shores, here are 5 essentials you need in order to stay safe and have a great time.
Using sunscreen is essential for everyone. In addition to leaving you with a painful sunburn, sun exposure can increase your risk for developing skin cancer. If you are living with certain medical conditions or are taking certain medications, you may also experience increased photosensitivity. Pack a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and check the expiration dates before use. Apply liberally 30 minutes before you head out, and reapply every two hours (or after you come out of the water). It is also a good idea to check with your doctor, and/or read your prescription label(s), to find out if you should limit your time in the sun. In addition to sunscreen, wearing UV-protective clothing, taking breaks in the shade, and always wearing a hat can help limit your risks and keep you more comfortable.
Plenty of Water
Dehydration is a serious problem, potentially causing dizziness, headaches and fainting. If you have a condition like Type 1 diabetes, for example, dehydration can cause dangerous variations to your blood sugar levels. This can lead to headaches, blurred vision and exhaustion. No matter what your medical conditions may be, always pack plenty of water, and stay hydrated.
If you’re planning to spend the entire day at the beach, there’s a good chance that you are going to pack a lunch. If you are planning on having any items that need to be kept cold (such as sandwiches or salads), it is important for you to have a cooler. So long as the temperature stays below 40 degrees, your food should be safe. Once the temperature rises above 40, your food may spoil in as little as two hours. Coolers are also helpful if you have temperature-sensitive medications or medical supplies. Always check with your medication and supply manufacturers to find out what the safe temperature ranges are. Your test strips, for example, may do well in a cooler, but only if it's kept above freezing. Pro Tip: Pack a thermometer in your cooler to monitor the temperature.
Certain conditions, such as food, drug, and environmental allergies, asthma, heart conditions, or diabetes require that you carry emergency or rescue medications on you at all times. Going to the beach is no exception. Some medications, such as glucagon, insulin, and epinephrine are extremely sensitive to heat, as are test strips. Store them in your cooler, or in an insulated pouch. Do not store them directly on ice, as they are also sensitive to extreme cold temperatures as well. Inform anyone with you where to find your rescue medication(s) and teach them how to administer those meds in the event that you are unable to do so yourself.
Whether you have food allergies, Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac disease, or any number of other conditions, packing the right foods matters. It's always a good idea to pack more than you think you need in case food is spilled or spoiled, if your day runs longer than expected, or if someone accidentally eats your, "safe" foods, leaving you short. Having that extra stash of snacks, and labeling those foods that are truly to be reserved for a given person, can really help make all the difference when plans change or little accidents happen.
Don’t Forget to Wear Your Medical ID
Wearing your medical ID jewelry is important at all times, including at the beach. Materials like silicone, stainless steel, and paracord are ideal for medical ID beachwear, as they are designed to stand up to your time in the water and all of your sunscreen use. Your medical ID jewelry can help first responders provide the necessary treatment in the event of an emergency. Pro Tip: Sending your kids on vacation with the grandparents? Check out our temporary write-on wristbands for a short-term ID that's sun- and pool-friendly.