We love our beautiful, wild Florida, but you have to admit Florida has some crazy risks involved with living here, and a lot of them seem like cruel jokes made by Mother Nature. From hurricanes to sink holes to killer bees, here are some of the risks we take by making Florida our home.
Because Florida's last encounter with a major hurricane was in 2005, some people worry we will be unprepared for the next one. We should try not develop a false sense of security. Hurricane season is upon us, and everyone should stock up on supplies and learn how to protect themselves.
Lightning is another danger we get fairly used to here in Florida, because it happens so frequently. Florida is the lightning capital of the US, with the most lightning-caused injuries and deaths as well. It's important we don't treat them like a fireworks display and follow lightning warnings.
Two shark attacks on children have been reported in Florida in the last week alone, one at Daytona Beach and one at Cocoa Beach. Sure, some people site statistics about how shark attacks are actually pretty rare, and car accidents are much more likely. I don't know about you, but for me that doesn't make the idea of being attacked by one any less terrifying.
4. Rip tide
All kids who grow up in Florida are taught (and should be taught) not to go out too far at the beach because these dangerous currents can sweep you away in seconds. Apparently the proper term may be rip currents, but rip tide is the more common term.
5. Heat Exhaustion
A relative humidity of 60% or makes sweat evaporation difficult, and thus your body has trouble cooling down. Heat exhaustion can have serious side effects, so it's important to wear proper clothing and hats if possible and always, always drink plenty of water. If you have difficulty staying hydrated, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol.
They're not just hiding out in remote swamps, we really do have gator encounters in Florida, and they can lead to serious consequences. Teach children especially that the zoo is the only safe place to get close to an alligator.
7. Killer Bees
Africanized honey bees have been not-so-slowly taking over the Southwest and Florida for years now, and they are occasionally responsible for someone's death with their aggressive swarming.
8. Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Warm water can be a breeding ground for bacteria, and thus very dangerous. And with temperatures rising early this year, we have a lot of warm water. Two people this year have already died from Vibrio vulnificus, of a total of eight that been reported so far. Do not swim in warm water if you have any open cuts or wounds of any kind and shower off immediately upon exiting. The bacteria can also be found in raw or under-cooked seafood, such as oysters.
9. Sink Holes
Sink holes are disturbingly common in Florida. What's most disturbing, though, is that they appear with no warning and can be incredibly destructive.
10. Skin Cancer
We spend a lot of time in the sun here, whether we like it or not. We don't rate too high on the list of states with the most skin cancer, but we still need to continue to take the proper precautions.l
11. Coral Snakes
Coral snake bites are not common, but they are deadly. They are not very painful, yet they paralyze breathing muscles and can cause respiratory failure within hours. They may soon be even more dangerous, as drug companies have decided it may be too expensive for the low demand to keep making their antivenom.
12. Brain-Eating Amoeba
Naegleria fowleri thrives in warm, still waters with low water levels, which puts Florida at risk. It's not extremely common, but those who contract the disease very rarely live. When swimming in any still water in the summer months, it's recommended to keep your head above water and wear nose plugs (because it enters through the nose), don't stir up sediment in the water, or just don't swim in still water at all. Early symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, and a stiff neck.
13. Black Widows
Another thing we're taught to avoid here as kids are black widows. Everyone knows their distinctive red hourglass pattern. Take precautions before digging around in leaves or junk in your attic or garage. Pest control can also help.
The Lionfish is an invasive species in Florida. Their spines should be avoided, as they can cause painful injuries.
15. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
This snake is considered the most dangerous venomous snake in the United States. It's a common misconception that rattlesnakes must rattle before striking, but this is not true. Exercise caution in areas known to be habitat for these snakes.
Please share any other dangers with us in the comments below, and be careful out there everyone!