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2010: Hurricane Waves Break Bones And Rupture Eardrums

(CNN) -- The spotlight is on Hurricane Earl, but its predecessor Hurricane Danielle isn't entirely harmless. Hurricane Danielle moved past Bermuda on Saturday, but the storm's effect on the surrounding ocean has caused several injuries to beachgoers on the East Coast.

In Ocean City, Maryland, residual rip tides and heavy surf from Hurricane Danielle have caused several dislocations of shoulders and cervical injuries, said Dr. Roy Cragway, Jr. physician, Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Maryland. This is a common issue around hurricanes, he said.

A wave may knock a person down onto rocks or something else hard and if the person extends an arm to try to break the fall, that can dislocate a shoulder, he explained. Cragway has been seeing about two or three injuries that happened like this per week.

Another potential risk from forceful hurricane waters is rupturing your eardrum, he said. Small perforations will heal by themselves, but some people will require surgery, Cragway said. Anyone who experiences bleeding from the ear, and hears the sound of the ocean even away from the beach, should consult a doctor.

Injuries to the neck also can happen when people dive into shallow water, regardless of whether there's a hurricane. And even the most experienced swimmers may be harmed, or even drown, in rough waters during or after a hurricane.

As Hurricane Earl threatens the East Coast, beachgoers should pay attention to the lifeguard situation, he said. Don't go swimming if there is no lifeguard on duty, especially after the beach closes. If you have small children, make sure you are watching them. Don't go more than 20 or 30 yards offshore, if that, he said.

If lifeguards say the beach is closed, don't go swimming, he said.

"Don't endanger your health and don't endanger anyone else's for the sake of a good time," he said.

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta
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