When out and about in some of the most beautiful places that nature has to offer, it’s pretty tough to allow any negative aspects into your mind; yet when you’re surfing in some of these places, half of the beauty surrounding you can actually have potential to be somewhat dangerous. Fiji is indisputably one of the most gorgeous places on the planet – and is one of the best surfing spots in the world – and also happens to be surrounded by coral reef. Sometimes, where you win some, you lose some, but let’s make sure that what you lose is not a chunk of skin. When jetting off on your next surf trip, whether it be a solo surf tour or a family surf vacation, add this small list of things to your baggage in the event of a common surf injury!
First things first, when surfing around reef, it is typically in your best interests to try your best not to fall off. But in the case that you do wipe out, it is of utmost importance to be totally prepared, because the whole notion of locals rubbing a lime into your battle wound may not be the most painless solution out there..!
In an attempt to help you out in the event that you do fall and cut yourself on the reef while you’re shredding out there, (don’t worry, it’s more common than you think) – whether it be a little scratch on your shoulder or a chunk taken out of your heel – here are some easy and helpful tips to ensure that you can be prepared when it comes to properly taking care of a reef cut!
First off, when you feel yourself falling, we all know that it is instinct to ball up and grab onto something. But please, try not to do that! Only grab towards the reef and make contact if it is absolutely necessary – otherwise, the waves will roll your body all over those reefs like a ball in a pinball machine.
When you’ve been cut, get out of the water and run to your emergency bag – which you will now know how to pack after having read this!
Remove the dead skin – you cannot just try to rip it all off, as that can cause an infection and open up your wound further. You will have to have packed either a sharp knife or a set of scissors, which needs to have been boiled in order to kill any potential bacteria!
Clean the wound – there is a great deal of bacteria in the reef, whether you see it or not, along with bits of sand or particles from the salt water. You will need to use a soft, sterile brush to scrub the area with soap and fresh water – it may not feel pleasant, but it is much better than the alternative in the long run!
If the wound really stings, pour some vinegar over it to help relieve the pain.
Flush the area out – rinse out the now clean area with a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide (about 50/50 ratio – the peroxide must be diluted!) and then rinse it out with a bit more pressure using only fresh water. Do not – I repeat do not use any salt water!
Apply an antibiotic ointment and Dress it – use a non-adhering bandage so as not to stick to the wound and cause further damage, and make sure it is sterile! You will need to clean the wound regularly and continue to apply antibiotic ointment and bandage in order to keep it clean and to watch for infection.
Antibiotics – oral antibiotics are usually recommended in order to prevent infection, and ibuprofen or Tylenol can be taken to relieve pain. Watch out for redness around the wound, as that is typically a sign of infection.
While the locals will be eager to help you take care of yourself, their methods using lime and salt water will most likely lead to a serious infection, so follow these easy steps – there isn’t much to it! Take care of yourself, and above all, try to wipe out gracefully!