House Calls

SUM 2017

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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Rip Currents 101 12 { summer 2017 } h o u s e c a l l s for the family Back to Basics When it comes to water safety, we could all use a refresher. Here, a Roper St. Francis primary care doctor shares how to keep your swimmers safe – B Y H A I L E Y M I D D L E B R O O K • The currents can be narrow (10 to 20 feet wide) or up to 10 times as wide, and can move upwards of five miles per hour. • 80 percent of all beach rescues involve riptides. • Signs of a rip current include color variation within the water, a break in the wave pattern, choppy waves, and foam or seaweed moving out toward the water. • If caught in one, don't fight the current; try to remain calm and swim parallel to the shoreline. Once out of the stream, swim to shore diagonally away from the riptide and wave or yell for help, if needed. Safety First Though keeping a close eye on your child is the best way to reduce drowning risk, Dr. Detar has a few additional tips for keeping kiddos safe in and around water. Power up. Pack healthy snacks and lots of water to help keep your child's energy up throughout a day of swimming. But don't worry about waiting 20 minutes after snacking to swim; this rule is just a myth, says Dr. Detar. Float safely. Dr. Detar says young children and weak swimmers should use flotation devices approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, such as the life jacket brand Puddle Jumpers. Steer clear of around-the- arm floaties. "They're unreliable and unsafe," he says. Stay screened. Always use broad- spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and apply it often. Slather on a shot-glass worth of lotion every two hours and after swimming. 4 Pay attention to pop-up storms. If you hear thunder, you're within 10 to 15 miles—and striking range—of lightning. Pack up and take cover until the storm has passed. When hitting the shore this summer, keep these factoids about rip currents—channels of water that flow out into the ocean—in mind I n the Lowcountry, splashing about is nearly second nature— especially when the summer heat settles in. But before you and your family dive in, know this: "The second leading cause of accidental death for young people between the ages of five and 24 is drowning," says Roper St. Francis affiliated primary care doctor D. Todd Detar, DO. Though it's a grim statistic, most drowning incidents can be prevented with proper supervision. "For infants and toddlers, there should be one adult supervisor per child. When watching preschoolers, that ratio can be four children to one adult. And six school-aged kids can be supervised at once," Dr. Deter advises. That said, some bodies of water are more dangerous than others—such as the ocean or rivers—and in those settings, more eyes are needed for vigilant watching. While supervising young swimmers, be on the lookout for signs of fatigue (fussiness and irritability can be as telling as yawns). If spotted, have them take a time out on land. "It's challenging to put a specific time guideline on swimming breaks, but always be overcautious. If your child seems tired, pull them out of the water." And for older children and adults alike, the key is to never swim alone. "Always have a swim buddy," stresses Dr. Detar. Lastly, though the American Academy of Pediatrics says children as young as one can safely take swimming lessons, until your child is a competent swimmer, Dr. Detar recommends use of a flotation device approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. "Flotation devices should also be worn by all when boating or participating in water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking," he adds.

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