Injuries from ocean waves more common than thought

June 23, 2013
Injuries from ocean waves more common than thought
Shallow surf can pose real risks, Delaware study finds.

(HealthDay)—A study out of Delaware suggests that injuries to beachgoers caused by ocean waves are more common and severe than previously suspected, and people need to be aware of the ocean's power—even in shallow water.

To keep safe, it's important to swim at beaches with lifeguards, ask them about surf conditions and never turn your back to the waves, one study author suggested.

Over the past three summers, more than 1,100 ocean-wave-related injuries that required emergency room treatment were reported among Delaware beachgoers. The injuries ranged from sprains and strains to , blunt organ trauma and neck fractures. There were three deaths.

The most common types of injuries were broken collarbones, dislocated and separated shoulders, , and ankle and knee sprains.

The injuries occurred in an area called the surf zone, where many people play in the waves. This is the stretch of shoreline between the water's edge and where the waves break. In this area, waves can hit people and slam them into the sand. Most of the injuries in this study occurred in less than two feet of water.

"Historically, the magnitude of these injuries is largely underreported," study co-leader Paul Cowan, chief of at the Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, said in a University of Delaware news release. "This is the first study that documents and tracks the number of significant injuries occurring in the surf zone."

Lifeguards at three popular Delaware beach communities—Bethany, Dewey and Rehoboth—and several state park beaches provided researchers with information on beach conditions.

Although injuries to the neck and spinal cord accounted for less than 5 percent of all cases, these patients suffered some of the most complex and life-altering injuries, Cowan said.

Overall, the findings seemed to indicate "that a lot of these folks simply don't understand the power of the ocean, or they don't know how to swim in and currents," study co-leader Wendy Carey, of the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, said in the news release.

Explore further: Emergency department visits from beach injuries more common than previously reported

More information: The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlines seven dangers at the beach.

Related Stories

Emergency department visits from beach injuries more common than previously reported

June 4, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Injuries to people swimming at the beach are more common and severe than previously documented, according to a recent study by the Delaware Sea Grant College Program and Beebe Medical Center.

Children's eye injuries peak in summer, expert says

June 21, 2013
(HealthDay)—Swimming pools are a major reason why children's eye injuries increase in the summer, according to an expert.

Snowboarding tops list of winter-sports injuries

January 13, 2013
(HealthDay)—Across much of the United States, the winter months are a fun time filled with falling flakes and holiday cheer. But high season for snow and ice can also entail broken bones.

Sports-related kidney injuries rare in high school athletes

June 18, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Sports-related kidney injuries occur significantly less frequently than other injuries in high school athletes, according to a study published online June 18 in Pediatrics.

Could an 'ankle hotline' relieve strain on health care demands?

August 10, 2011
Should lower leg strains and sprains take up valuable ER time and resources? According to a new study by Kaj Lambers and colleagues, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA, strains and sprains account for over ...

Top 5 winter activities to land you in the ER

December 22, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- The  first day of winter was Wednesday, Dec. 21, and many states are bracing for a season of snow and ice. Broken bones from snowboarding and sledding top the list of common visits to the Emergency ...

Recommended for you

Placental accumulation of flame retardant chemical alters serotonin production in rats

January 22, 2018
A North Carolina State University-led research team has shown a connection between exposure to a widely used flame retardant chemical mixture and disruption of normal placental function in rats, leading to altered production ...

Marijuana use does not lower chances of getting pregnant

January 22, 2018
Marijuana use—by either men or women—does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant, according to a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.