Shark attack is one of the most dreaded events that anyone can face while swimming in the ocean. However, according to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), only 61 unprovoked shark attacks against humans have been noted across the world in 2004. Out of these numbers, the total number of fatalities is only seven.

Below is a summary of tips that can help to deal with shark attacks, as well as necessary information regarding prevention, management and immediate care of victims.

Tips to prevent a shark attack

  • Avoid swimming near fishing boats as they emit the scent of the fish, including bleeding, which can attract sharks.

  • Do not swim in the sea if active bleeding such as menstruation or sudden skin cuts are present. Sharks have the ability to taste and smell the scent of blood and can trace its source even if it is over a mile away.

  • Do not stay near the edge of rivers as freshwater fishes and other creatures are swayed out to the sea.

  • Stay clear from water animals such as sea lions, seals and fish as these are the common preys of sharks. In the same way, avoid seabirds and dolphins as these are typically close to sharks' most common food.

  • Dead sea animals floating in the water must be avoided at all costs.

  • Sharks have the ability to locate preys even if it is dark hence, it is recommended to stay out the water even during dawn, dusk and night as some sharks do come close to the shore to catch some fish.

  • Sharks typically swim in muddy water areas, harbor entry points and steep locations hence, these places must be avoided.

  • Do not wear clothing that are contrasting in colors such as those with a yellow-orange combination, as well as sparkling jewelry resembling fish scales as these are said to attract sharks.

  • Tone down on the swimming activities that require high extreme motion such as splashing and playing with highly-active pets. Such movements attract sharks.

  • If a shark is seen, leave the water calmly, without any action that can provoke or attract the sharks.

  • Leave the water when sea animals are noticed to suddenly behave erratically as this may be an indicator of impending shark arrival.

  • Swim with companions all the time as reports show that attacks are usually recorded among people who were then alone. Do not swim too far away from companions.

  • If a shark is seen and fresh fish catch is at hand, release the fish to the water calmly and leave.

Tips to manage a shark attack

  • If faced with a shark and an attack is too late to avoid, defend self by using any weapon available. However, do not use bare hands, feet or other body parts to fight the shark. Aim at the shark's snout, eyes or gills. Pound these areas as these are highly-sensitive.

  • Pretending to be dead is not an effective method of avoiding an attack.

  • In case of shark bite, leave the water in a rapid and efficient manner as second attacks, although infrequent, may be possible.

  • Call 911 or authorities as soon as possible, regardless of the extent and severity of the attack.

Tips to help victims of a shark attack

  • Move the individual out of the water as quickly as possible

  • Control the bleeding by putting firm pressure on the area of bite or by applying tourniquets.

  • Maintain heat loss to minimal levels by wrapping the victim in a blanket.

  • Call for professional medical emergency help.

Although the recorded cases are minimal and significantly low, people should still know what to do, how to prevent attacks and how to save anyone who falls prey to these animals.

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