You’ll all remember this video going viral after a sea-lion dragged a six year-old girl into Stevenson waters from a dock in Richmond, British Columbia in May this year. But while some people found it hilarious, it’s actually a reminder of how cautious and aware we need to be while travelling.
The repercussions of the girl being dragged in led to the media reporting that during the incident, she received a “superficial wound”. Now we didn’t know what that meant, so googled it.
It turns out that it means “A scrape, bruise, discoloration, or swelling, of minimal severity.” and “on or near the surface”, and so it’s just the top of the skin that’s involved and not down into the lower layers of the skin or the muscles underneath”, which was good news that it wasn’t a deep wound.
However, the media reported that marine life experts had warned that she could be at risk for getting a rare infection known as seal finger. Infections are caused when bacteria from a sea mammal’s mouth make their way into a person’s skin through some form of cut. AND if left untreated and without necessary antibiotics, it could lead to loss of a finger or a limb.
So suddenly this poor girl and her family had to deal with unforeseen tests and appointments, which in some places could mean bonkers medical costs.
Here is a short list of things you should think about when you’re jetting off:
1) Be aware of your surroundings.
Not to the extent of being on edge the whole trip, but just so you know what’s around you and that you have an exit route should you need to leave quickly. And also if you’re near any animals such as the seal, be aware of getting too close for comfort.
2) Use official taxis.
I recently read this story about a girl who was kidnapped by an unofficial taxi and taken to somewhere where she was to be robbed of everything. Fortunately she had been carrying Mace, an aerosol self-defence spray, and was able to get away without being robbed. But it was enough of a read to make me think twice about transport.
3) Tap water.
While tap water is perfectly safe to drink in the UK (although questionable of taste in some cities), other countries don’t have the same sanitary liquid in their taps. Diarrhea, giardia, hepatitis A, typhoid and cholera are a few illnesses that can be transmitted through bad tap water, so think twice before you get your glass.
4) Posting that Insta-worthy pic of your boarding pass.
It’s unlikely for anything to actually happen, but it’s worth thinking about before you do it, and it’s all about the QR code. Every piece of information related to your booking is available through the QR code, which is scanned at the airport. Wouldn’t want to be the 1 in so many people to be hacked and for your trip to be changed or cancelled.
Hole in the walls. A perfect quick-access to cash is usually safe in the UK, but in other countries security might not be as developed as it is here. Skimming and other ways to get the PIN and other information has increased, and you should always be careful when withdrawing money. Even people around you while you’re there, they could easily nab your purse or bag after you’ve got your money, so try to use an ATM located inside a bank or in a secured place with a lot of people.
It always pays to be safe!