Swimsuit, check. Sandals, check. Beach towel, check. Lounge chair, check. There is certainly no shortage of things to pack when planning a trip to the shore.
In addition to the standard beach fare, keep your health and safety in mind this summer when packing for days spent enjoying the sand, surf, and sun. There is nothing like an unplanned emergency to ruin vacation fun. From sunscreen to a first aid kit, make sure to pack these five items before heading down the shore.
1. Sunscreen is number one. If you’re planning to spend any time outside – and if you’re heading to the shore this summer, you will – make sure to pack sunscreen and SPF lip balm.
The long-term effects the sun has on the skin have been well documented. That’s why it’s important to protect your skin by using a lotion with at least SPF 30 that screens out both UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to apply it to all exposed skin, paying special attention to the face, neck, ears, and arms.
2. A first aid kit is another necessity. You never know what can happen when you’re away from home. Don’t let a minor cut, sting, or headache put a damper on your fun. While many hotels and rental properties will have supplies available, it’s best to pack your own first aid kit.
Bring a kit that contains a wide range of supplies, including bandages and gauze for cuts and minor bleeding, burn cream and cold packs for pain relief, antiseptic wipes for cleaning an injury, and acetaminophen and ibuprofen for headaches and injury pain relief.
3. Sunglasses aren’t just for looking cool which hanging out on the beach. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Without protection, extended periods in the sun can have long-term effects on your eyes, such as cataracts, which lead to blurred vision. When selecting the right sunglasses to pack, it’s best to choose a pair that will block out 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation.
4. Aloe vera is another vacation must have. When spending summer days outdoors, even when taking proper precautions, you may get a minor burn. To soothe the sun’s effect on the skin, pack a great natural remedy for post-sun skin relief – aloe vera. Aloe vera helps reduce the effects of minor sunburns by providing soothing relief, hydrating burned skin, and speeding the healing process. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying an aloe vera moisturizer to affected areas of the skin to reduce sunburn symptoms.
5. Summer means bugs. Most are harmless and are a natural part of our greater ecosystem. But a few pesky bugs – namely mosquitoes and greenheads – can ruin a relaxing afternoon at the beach and also leave behind itchy skin bites. Some bugs can even spread disease – such as Lyme disease. That is why a good bug spray or repellant should accompany every trip – from the beach to the mountains. There are many types of sprays available, including all-natural, plant-based products. Pack a bug spray to help protect your family from these pests.
Wherever your summer plans take you, make sure to stay alert to your health and safety needs. Enjoy a great summer season by planning ahead and keeping you and your family’s well-being in mind.
Jillian C. Smith, MD, is the Medical Director for Cooper Urgent Care Centers. For more tips you can use down the shore or all summer long, download our free guide.