South Africa’s beach in Wilderness, along the Garden Route is easily one of the most sought after locations for lovers of the beach and sun. It’s not as busy or crowded, and it feels wide-open, spacious and inviting; a place outside of time. It has views that are unmatched in an environment that is known for being breathtaking and secluded. Wilderness is a unique and vibrant town which offers plenty to do in town and out, and options to eat out that are mouthwatering. The folks in Wilderness are friendly and open, warm and genuine, making any visit here extraordinary.
With so much to offer in one location, people are forced to leave their lovely lodging, even when it’s painful to leave as with Cinnamon Boutique Guest House whose 5 star luxury is so difficult to walk away from even for a jaunt to town. People on holiday are so wrapped up in the experience of living within a dream that they often walk out without things that would make the experience so much better, and far healthier and safer. Things like a bottle of water, or sunscreen can be forgotten, as well as proper clothing for the weather and footwear that is also appropriate. The wind in South Africa, bordered as we are by two oceans, can be lively and is perfectly able to make a person not notice the fact that they’re slowly being burned by that amazing sunshine.
Though it seems counter to what we would think, it’s not just possible but predictive that you’ll get burned badly while you’re in the water also, and it can even be worse than when sunbathing thanks to how light refracts within water. When you’re swimming you also can’t tell your skin is burning because for the moment, you’re nice and cool. It’s not until you go back inside for a few hours that you begin to notice that you’re not just red and hot to the touch, but possibly also not feeling very well. Burns of this nature can be very dangerous, and can easily rank on the burn scale between 4th to 3rd degree burns, which can give you water blisters which burst on contact even with clothing and can lead to infections, but it’s not even the worst part of this… the bigger danger is inside your body. If you take precautions however, these kinds of issues while on holiday can be quickly avoided so the sun and surf can be enjoyed fully.
Most shops will offer a beach umbrella you can bring along, especially if you plan to be at the beach for more than a couple hours, or if you must walk a long way to the spot you want to sit at. Watch for shady areas along the edge of the beach, and note where to go if you get too hot so you’ve somewhere safe to walk on your way back if you have spent too long in the sun by accident. Even the best sunblock at SPF50 will wear off with sweating and swimming, and that includes the ones rated as “waterproof” because nothing really is completely. Always re-apply your sunblock every hour if you’re not in the water, and every time you get out of the water. This will ensure that your skin keeps a nice protective layer that will keep you from cooking in the sun, and also helps you pre-empt the dangers of skin cancer.
Staying clear of the sun and keeping your skin protected is great as a start, but many people forget all about drinking water. Bringing a cooler along is a pain to carry as you jaunt about, but it’s absolutely imperative to staying healthy and feeling good while you’re out. If you plan to be gone for more than half an hour, you’ll need to be consuming water to replace what you’re losing from perspiration which costs you salt and water you need to keep your body functioning optimally. By keeping yourself hydrated you’ll also help combat getting heatstroke. You should be drinking about 600 ml/20 oz of water for every hour that you plan to be in the sun, but that also means that you need to plan for the eventuality of having to run to the restroom, and not wander too far from the ability to find relief.
Signs of trouble from the heat and a great way to find out whether you’ve overdone it, gotten too much sun and too little water, are easy to see when you know what to look for. Heat exhaustion comes first along with symptoms like excessive thirst, cool and clammy feeling skin, weakness & nausea, muscle aches and dizziness.
What to do when you suspect heat exhaustion is to start by going inside and out of the sun immediately to rest. Drink plenty of cool water, and sports drinks that would include electrolytes (think Powerade/Energade)and if the symptoms do not go away within an hour, contact a Doctor.
Heat injury is a very real thing and it can be the easiest to overlook. Wear sun-appropriate clothing and bring along something to cover up if it gets too cold while you’re out. Keep a beach umbrella handy and a cooler for your drink transport while you’re out enjoying the Wilderness beach and hiking trails, and after your health needs while outside are settled, come back to us at Cinnamon House for a wonderful evening and a restful night’s sleep.