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Snorkeling is such an amazingly fun activity that sometimes, we forget that accidents can happen from time to time. Even if we are 100% well-prepared, things might go wrong. We don’t want the fun to be spoiled with such emergency situations or worse, life-threatening injuries. We always want to make sure that we and our family and friends are safe. The perfect way to ensure safety is prevention (we all know it’s always better than cure). Here are some common snorkeling injuries. We also include precautions (and treatments) we can take and rules we can follow to avoid snorkeling injuries or mishaps.

1. Muscle Cramps

This is very common during swimming and snorkeling. If you experience this, immediately position your head above water. Keep calm, relax your muscles and rest to restore your energy. This is also one good reason why you should always have a companion while snorkeling. Let them know you are having this problem before you panic. They can surely help you swift or bring you to the shore asap.

2. Injuries Caused by Marine Creatures

You are a stranger to such an unknown environment. So, always remember this rule: free to look but not to touch! Keep an arm’s length from these sea creatures. Some of them feel that you are a threat when you come too close. So, just enjoy the view from afar.

In case you step on a sea urchin, it is best to go to the hospital immediately. If there are no hospitals nearby, place the affected area in hot water for at least 30 minutes. Make sure the water is hot as you can bear and if it cools down, top it up with hot water again.

3. Stings from Jellyfish

We decided to separate this from number 2 because this is a very common problem and there are special treatments for this sting. The best way to avoid this injury is to stay away from swimming in areas populated by jellyfishes. Heed warning signs. If you see one, chances are, this area has been spotted by officials to be a jellyfish-infested area. If you are on the shore and you see a seemingly dead jellyfish, avoid touching it as its poison can still harm you. Leave the water immediately once you suspect jellyfishes are around you. Also, you can buy a protective lotion in advance just in case you don’t know if you will be heading to a jellyfish-infested area. You can ask from pharmacies or shops that sell diving and beach gears.

If you ever got a jellyfish sting, avoid touching the infected area.  Do not rub it or clean it with mineral or tap water. Instead, rinse the affected area with sea water. Then, pour some jellyfish sting treatment or vinegar over the injury. If the case is severe, go to the nearest doctor as soon as possible.

4. Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a condition when the body temperature falls below 95ºF (35º C). It can be fatal when the core body temperature falls below 86ºF (30º C). Also, it is important to know that prolonged exposure to cold water can cause this. Please make sure to recognize the following signs of hypothermia:

  • uncontrolled shivering
  • decreased heart rate
  • blue skin complexion
  • dilated pupils
  • signs of poor judgment
  • confusion and drowsiness
  • hallucination

If you spot one, seek medical help immediately.