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Maritime Injuries Prevention
12/10/2009 3:15:04 PM

Maritime Injuries Prevention

Large numbers of deaths due to water injuries occur yearly around the world and in Lebanon.
Many types of injuries occur due to lack of water safety and lack of preventive measures however the most popular are drowning and near drowning.

There are several causes to these types of preventable injuries among which are:
Rip Current: which does not pull a swimmer down but it is a major cause of drowning.  It is cause by the movement of the waves toward the coast where it hits the sand or rock and then are forced to change their direction by digging channels to get back to the sea.  This current gets stronger as the waves get stronger.
YASA recommends people to avoid swimming in a turbid sea to avoid being caught by a current. As for swimmers who get caught by a current, YASA reminds them to stay calm and swim parallel to the coast until they feel that they are no longer being pulled and then swim back to the coast.

Slipping and Falling: which are common in rocky sea coasts, sides of rivers and swimming pools.  The related injuries vary from slight bruises to fractures.  These areas become slippery due to the growth of algae on damp surfaces.  YASA reminds that prevention is by avoiding walking in such places as well as wearing the proper foot wear on such rocky coasts.

Diving: which is among the most dangerous maritime sports.  During diving the youth compete in jumping from high levels without checking the depth of the water. YASA reminds that jumping from 5cm above the water needs a depth of 2 meters to keep the diver safe from injuries such as wound and fractures.  Among those injuries, the most dangerous is the fracture in the back.  YASA’s Water Safety Committee reminds that any injury to the back might lead to paralyses.  To prevent such risks it is always essential to consider the depth of the water before deciding on the height from which the person intends to jump.

Sun Burns:  Many people go to the beach to get a sun tan but the true result ends up to be sun burn with many days of pain.  The sun causes severe burns which can be prevented by avoiding prolonged sun exposure.  YASA reminds you that this can be avoided by avoiding sun exposure between 11:00 and 15:00 and by using sun protection cream and reapplying it often. YASA’s Water Safety Committee reminds people of the need to drink water regularly even if no thirst feeling exists to avoid dehydration. 
As for children, YASA reminds parents to make the children wear a bright color long-sleeved shirt as soon as the go out of the water.  Moreover since the eyes of children under 12 years are very sensitive, there is great need to protect them with protective sunglasses that carry the “CE” logo that signifies that they have the necessary filters for the protection of the eyes. 

Sudden Drop in Body Temperature: Extended sun exposure leads to the increase in body temperature.  The sudden drop in body is when people go to the water after prolonged sun exposure.  This sudden drop can lead to a shock that can cause arrhythmic heart beat, unconsciousness, and even death.  YASA reminds that this is preventable by regulating the body temperature by putting water around the neck and shoulders before swimming or by gradually going into the water especially after prolonged sun exposure.

Sea Animal Stings and Bites:  among which is the jellyfish which invades the sea at specific times during the summer and causes stings by touching the human body.  It is preventable by monitoring the water before swimming and making sure that there are no jellyfish.  YASA recommends the avoiding of touching the jellyfish even after it dies or when seen outside the water since this animal retains its poisoning ability even after it dies.  If stung by a jellyfish, YASA recommends the person to rub the injured location with sand until the jelly membrane is removed and then rub the affected area with diluted Ammoniac. If the affected area is the face the Ammoniac should be replaced by Soda Bicarbonate. 

Motorized Motor Sports: Some boat and Jet Ski drivers do not know the rules of driving in the sea and drive around swimmers or close to the coast.  The law states that they should drive away from the coast by at least 500 meters and ensure that their entry and exist is away from the swimmers.  YASA reminds the drivers and the accompanying riders to always wear a life jacket. The driver should also know the meaning of sea signs and flags before driving in the sea.

YASA’s Preventive Recommendations for Families:
 Teach children how to swim
 Check the child’s swimming ability each year, for it is possible to forget how to swim
 Avoid eating before going into the water
 Avoid alcohol consumption on the beach
 Avoid unattended water games
 Avoid swimming at night
 Avoid swimming alone
 Always swim in designated places and where there is a lifeguard
 Avoid swimming in dams and river banks
 Follow safety guidelines
 Avoid swimming in a turbid sea

YASA’s Water Safety Committee: has done many studies which show that most injuries occur in unmonitored places. For this reason, YASA encourages all people to comply with safety standards and employing qualified lifeguards. Furthermore, YASA is also committed to continue its awareness campaigns through different media channels, educational institutions and other possible means. 


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