Walking the Beach at South Padre Island

A few safety tips
By Steve Hathcock
Do you like to roll up your pants legs, and maybe splash your way along the edge of the surf? Ahh…..sounds romantic doesn’t it? Well, you’ve got to be careful here too. Stingrays are very shy, but there is not much that is more painful than one of these winged-fishes tail-barb, sticking you in the ankle. Of course, there are also folks who swear that the long pale blue tentacles of the Portuguese Man O’ War are, by far, more exquisitely painful. I have been lucky to date. I have not been a victim of either, so I am only passing this on as hearsay. But, if by chance, you get crossways with both on the same day, please visit me and set the record straight. I’ve heard that baking soda, meat tenderizer and papaya juice are sure cures; though I usually prefer the latter served in a fresh fruit smoothie. Don’t rub sand on the afflicted area. It only serves to spread the poison around and ultimately makes it worse. Use a credit card or the edge of a knife blade and scrape the site. sting ray barb
A lot of you Northerners do not realize how close to the equator you are on South Padre Island. The sun’s rays are much more powerful here than in the upper Midwest. As a result, you can get a good burn, even on an overcast day. During the summer months, I have gotten sun-burnt right though a T-shirt! We locals generally have an aloe plant or two in our yards. But, it is not always easy to find an aloe plant when you need one. So that’s why I carry a bottle of Aloe Gator’s “Green Stuff” when I am out treasure hunting. In my opinion, this is the best commercial sunburn ointment on the market. It can be found in many of our local beach shops, shell shops and probably in most of the gift shops in the major hotel lobbies. Just look for anything that has aloe in it. Better yet, be smart and buy sun block which, by coincidence, is also a mainstay of Aloe Gators products. http://www.agsbrands.com/
Strong Gulf breezes keep mosquitoes and other biting bugs off of the beach, but they can be a real problem when you get behind tall dunes where the wind doesn’t blow. The same folks who make the Green Stuff, used to distribute a product called, Bug Bite Relief. This stuff worked fast. I am like a magnate when it comes to blood sucking bugs. If there is a mosquito anywhere within several blocks of me, I am destined to be fed upon. This same product could be used for other bites, too. I stood in a nest of little red ants one time and sustained around thirty bites. I sprayed Bug Bite on my legs and rubbed it into my skin. The sting was gone in just a couple of minutes. Best of all, no blisters formed afterwards.
I was disappointed when I learned Bug Bite was no longer available and I called the company to find out why. Bill Foshage, president of AGS Brands, told me that the company that manufactured Bug Bite had become a victim to the bad economy and closed its doors. In response to their customers needs, AGS is now gearing up to produce the wonder-product in its own plant near Dallas Texas. Until AGS is able to get their new line on the market I suggest the following, wet a bar of soap and lather the afflicted area. As the soap dries, it stretches the skin and like a poultice will draw the poison from the bite area. Bill also told me about some of the other products manufactured and distributed by his company that include a full line of camping and other outdoor products. One new product, just introduced a couple of months ago is the Bleuet brand of lightweight, portable cooking equipment and non-toxic solid fuel which is very lightweight but solidly built. He is sending me some samples to try out and I will post the results on my South Padre TV web site, http://southpadretv.tv/
Broken glass poses long-term problems for beachgoers. The Town of South Padre and the Cameron County Parks system both have strong anti-glass laws, which means; “NO GLASS BOTTLES ON THE BEACH.”
There is a good reason for this law.
I remember skinny dipping in the Mississippi River, near Lacrosse Wisconsin one summer. As we frolicked in the water I stepped on a broken bottle. I cannot recall how many stitches were required to close the cut, but I do remember having to go barefoot so the wound would heal. Near the end of the summer, the doctor removed my stitches.
Did I learn my lesson?
Well, let me put it this way. I now have identical scars on BOTH feet. Yep, I learned my lesson all right, just not the first time around.
See you on the beach!

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