The Tonic Effect of Sea Air - Bracing versus Warm Resorts - Sea Bathing - Precautions to be Taken - Paddling-the Holiday for the Mother - How Strenuous Workers Can Derive the Most Benefit from Holidays - Seaside Dangers for Children - How to Treat Insect Bites and Stings Jelly-fish Stings - Heat Fag
There are people who believe that the seaside holiday is the only real and satisfactory one from the health point of view. There is something to be said in favour of the idea, for the tonic effect of sea air cannot be denied.
The invigorating ozone, which is more plentiful in the atmosphere close to the sea, is just what is needed by most people. If we have to live and work in a relaxing atmosphere, whether in town or in country, a bracing seaside holiday is, other things being equal, the most desirable. It provides a thorough atmospheric change, stimulates the appetite, and revitalises flagging energy.
Where there are children to be considered, the advantages of the seaside over the country are even greater. The long hours on the sands, the castle building and paddling, the donkey rides, and opportunities for shell, seaweed, and pebble collecting make a month by the sea the ideal holiday for the child. Under proper conditions, a few weeks by the seaside will be followed by increased health and strength for every member of the family. If a bracing place is chosen, more tonic health advantages can be ensured. The seaside resort situated in the mouth of one of the rivers is less bracing than the town or village on the coast line, although perhaps warmer and more sheltered.
It is always a good thing to ask the family doctor as to the relative health merits of two or three likely places by the sea, because there is no doubt that certain children' will be better in a very bracing place, whilst others will derive more benefit from the sheltered, warmer seaside resort.
The daily regimen affects very much the worth of the seaside holiday. If the children are allowed to paddle until they are chilled, to build castles insufficiently protected from the glaring heat of the sun, to eat cockles, buns, and seaside delicacies at whatever hour they please, the value of the holiday will be considerably reduced. Indeed, the seaside holiday is full of pitfalls, which can, however, be avoided by the mother who takes care to order methodically the days of the household. The most important points she has to attend to are :
The question of sea bathing
The risk of heat fag
The avoidance of summer chills.
Sea bathing is one of the delights of holiday making, and it ought to be a healthful measure, if due care and common-sense are exercised with regard to it. People who declare that bathing does not "agree " with them, mean generally that they have never bathed in the right way. Provided the weather is suitable, the daily dip in the sea ought to be enjoyable, healthful, and invigorating. Of course, there are people who have found it nothing of the sort, whose recollections of the pastime are associated with chill and shivering, chattering of teeth, and a general blue tinge of the complexion. The fault lies, not with the sea bathing, but with the bather, who has not learned how and when to bathe to get the best results. The chief mistake that people make is that they stay too long in the water. Whilst ten or fifteen, or even twenty, minutes may not be too long for those who can swim, and who enjoy every moment of their time in the sea, there are others who should stay only two minutes in the water altogether.
In the second place, it is necessary to choose the best time to bathe from the health point of view. Perhaps two hours after breakfast is the ideal time. By then the meal is fairly well digested and the atmosphere and the sea are warmed by the morning sun. Those, however, who like the dip before breakfast, and who feel no ill-effects afterwards, are perfectly safe in continuing the custom so long as they enjoy it. Only the robust can risk bathing after a long fast, and it is never a good thing to bathe immediately after a meal when fatigued by exercise. Bathing will disagree always if indulged in after a heavy game of tennis or a long cycle ride. The heart is fatigued by muscular exercise, and the shock of the cold water in addition may produce a sort of heart failure. Many a fatal case, said to be due to cramp, is, in reality, consequent upon heart failure in deep water; so that one should avoid bathing when physically tired, or even mentally fagged, and take exercise after bathing, not before.
Immediately upon coming out of the water a brisk rub down with a rough towel, followed by twenty minutes' muscular exercise, will prove very beneficial.
To get real enjoyment out of bathing it is necessary to learn to swim. It would be well if swimming were a compulsory part of education. Like skating, riding, and cycling, and all else in the way of sport, the art of swimming should be learned young, and* parents ought to do everything in their power to encourage young people to acquire this accomplishment, once and for all, while at the sea. The muscular exercise is excellent, as nearly all the muscles in the body are brought into play, whilst there is far less risk of chill and shivering for the bather who can swim and float whilst in the water.
When there is a tendency to cramp in bathing, brisk massage of the muscles once or twice a day, with exercise of those particular muscles, will lessen the danger of cramp when in the water. It must not be forgotten that one is much more likely to suffer from cramp after being in the water some time or when fatigued by exercise.
Paddling is one of the delights of seaside life for the children, and many grown-ups, too, enjoy a surreptitious wade in the sea in the shade of the rocks, and out of sight and sound of the crowd on the sands. But it must not be forgotten that summer chill or colic may follow an afternoon's paddling in cold water; and in the case of children, especially, the wiser plan is to limit the time of paddling to ten or fifteen minutes. If, after coming out of the water, the feet and legs are dried with a rough towel, and dry stockings and shoes put on at once, chills will be avoided. Apart from the dangers of paddling too long, there is the effect of the hot sun, if the mother is not careful that the children's heads are protected by broad-brimmed hats.