National Rip Current Awareness Week


Summer is one of the most anticipated seasons of the year. The days are longer, school is out, and it is finally time to take that long anticipated vacation with your family. Many people flock to the ocean in order to escape the brutal summer heat, although most are unprepared for some of the dangers that await both above and beneath the cool surface of the water such as rip currents, shorebreaks and sunburn .

Rip Currents

Commonly misidentified as an “undertow” or “riptide,” a rip current is a powerful, narrow current in the surf zone of a beach that quickly moves away from shore. They typically flow directly from the shore, through the surf zone, and past the breaking waves. Over 80% of all water rescues on surf beaches are due to rip currents, making them the leading risk for any beachgoer. To avoid getting caught in one, everyone should learn how to identify them. According to the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA), you should look for “a channel of churning, choppy water, an area having a notable difference in water color, (or) a break in the incoming wave pattern.” They also advise people never to swim alone, and if caught in a rip current, to swim out of the current parallel to the shoreline, before swimming toward the shore. USLA has also calculated the chance that a person will drown while attending a beach protected by USLA affiliated lifeguards is 1 in 18 million (0.0000055%), therefore they highly recommend only swimming where lifeguards are present.


A shorebreak is a situation in which waves abruptly break directly on the shore instead of deeper in the ocean, sometimes picking a person up and throwing them down onto the sand. There have also been known occurrences of people diving into a shorebreak, which is not deep enough for such activities. These incidents can often cause serious injuries to the neck or spinal cord, occasionally inducing paralysis or a fatality. To keep yourself safe, experts recommend never turning your back on the waves, never diving directly into the bottom of a wave, and advise putting your arms out in front of you to protect your head and neck, if caught by a wave.

Heat and Sunburn

Sunburn – red, throbbing skin that feels hot to the touch – usually surfaces within a few hours after too much time spent being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. Once the body recognizes the damage done by the UV light, it will begin to saturate the area with blood to help initiate the healing process, causing the characteristically painful, lobster-red skin we associate with a sunburn. Allowing yourself to repeatedly get sunburnt can eventually accelerate the skin’s aging process, causing freckles, premature wrinkles, rough skin, or even skin cancer. In order to avoid these outcomes, doctors suggest staying out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest. They also advise using generous amounts of sunscreen and wearing a hat or clothing to protect your skin when in the sun for a prolonged period of time.

Surepoint Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day and is located at I-35E and Loop 288 on the east side of the highway. At Surepoint, you are seen by a doctor within 5 minutes of your arrival. No waiting in the hospital emergency room when you are sick.

Stretching Tips

Stretching is a fantastic way to improve your flexibility and lower your chance of getting injured. Learn more about stretching and why you should add it into your weekly routine.

stretching tipsThe Mayo Clinic says stretching – holding a muscle in an elongated position for 30 seconds or longer –  can help improve your range of motion and decrease your risk of injury. But stretching cold muscles can do more harm than good. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Don’t stretch cold muscles. Take a walk, a light jog, or a short bike ride before stretching. This should last between 5 and 10 minutes, then it will be safe to stretch. Or, stretch at the end of your workout when muscles are warm.
  • If you’re going to participate in a race or other event, practice dynamic stretching. This is performing movements that are similar to what you’ll be doing. For example, runners can do leg lifts or walking lunges to warm up their muscles.
  • Try to have equal flexibility on each side of your body and try not to compare yourself to others because everyone has a different level of flexibility.
  • Focus on major muscles such as quadriceps (front thigh), hamstrings (back thigh), calves, hips, lower back, shoulders, and neck
  • Don’t bounce. Hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds, and repeat on the opposite side.
  • If you feel pain, you’ve stretched too far. Back off a little and continue to hold the stretch.
  • Research gyms and yoga studios near you for a stretching class if you prefer to have guidance.

The Mayo Clinic recommends stretching two-to-three times a week to maintain your current level of mobility and flexibility. Here are some basic stretches to get you started.

Kitchen Dangers

common kitchen dangers


The kitchen is the heart of the home, where families and friends gather to share delicious meals and stories. But it’s also a place of danger. According to Consumer Reports, the holiday season is the busiest time of year for kitchen accidents, but they can occur at any time.

Common Kitchen Dangers

  • The stove top or oven

    Burns range from minor to serious.  Open flames on the stove top can catch clothing, potholders, or dishtowels on fire.  This can lead to a full-blown kitchen fire if not careful, hair and eyebrows can get singed. Grease fires and boiling water pose dangers too. Children can try to climb on it and cause it to tip over, leading to a crushing injury.

  • Dishes, glasses, and cookware

    When dropped, they can break or shatter, causing a hazard to people and pets.   Be sure to get all the broken pieces up, no matter how small. Block off the area until you can confirm removal of each tiny piece.

  • Sharp knives

    This is one of the most common ways people get injured in the kitchen.  Cuts range from minor to those needing stitches.

  • Garbage disposals

    Never stick your hand in a garbage disposal that is running because you could get cut or lose a finger.

  • Blenders and food processors

    People can easily get cut on the very sharp blades. Use a dishwasher instead of trying to clean these small appliances by hand. Make sure they are turned off and unplugged before reaching in.

  • Sponges

    Sponges are full of bacteria and one of the most dangerous things in the kitchen. Run them through the dishwasher weekly and replace them often.

  • Countertops

    Countertops can get contaminated by dirty sponges or dishtowels, spoiled food, or raw meat and seafood.  Keep them clean with vinegar and baking soda or your favorite cleaning product.

  • Food

    If food is left out for too long it can spoil and cause people to get sick; raw meat and seafood can contaminate counter tops, knives, and cutting boards

Be aware of these kitchen dangers and pay attention to what you’re doing at all times to lessen your chance of injury. When it comes to your health, Be Sure.