A selfie stick saved this girl from a riptide. In case you forget yours, here's how to stay safe.

While plenty of dangers lurk on the beach — weird tan lines, food on sticks, sand in unfortunate crevices — there's one you don't hear much about: riptides. (Pipe down, Vance Joy. No one's talking to you.)

Riptides, or rip currents, are powerful, narrow bands of fast-moving water found on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts and even in the Great Lakes.

Rip currents are incredibly difficult for the average beachgoer to spot, making them highly dangerous. They account for 80% of rescues performed by surf-beach lifeguards and are the cause of over 100 deaths a year.


In fact, in the United States, rip currents are 100 times more deadly than sharks.

In June 2015, a 16-year-old girl and her father made headlines after they were almost swept away by a rip current.

Erynn Johns and her father Derrick tried to swim toward shore, but couldn't make it. Sensing her daughter and husband were in trouble, Jennifer Johns ran to the water, where she too ended up caught in the tide.

What saved the family from an unimaginable fate? A selfie stick.

Yes, haters, a selfie stick.

Erynn was recording video with a GoPro camera attached to the infamous monopod, so the entire event was captured on film.

As she felt herself being swept out to sea, the video shows Erynn struggling to swim back toward her father and the shore.

Unfortunately, she was fighting a losing battle. Swimming toward shore means fighting the current, otherwise known as the Ronda Rousey of moving water — odds are, you're going to lose. In fact, people are usually injured or killed because they tire themselves out fighting the current.

Luckily, Erynn's father, Derrick, was able to grab hold of the stick and guide Erynn toward shore.

Onlookers and lifeguards jumped in to help, and the whole family made it safely back to the beach.

GIFs via Derrick Johns.

Derrick Johns, a former Marine, told The Boston Globe the experience was "total, sheer terror."

Facing a riptide without a selfie stick? Keep calm and swim parallel to shore.

If you're caught in a rip current, do not try to swim toward shore. Instead, since riptides are only about 100 feet wide, move parallel to the shore until you are out of danger, then swim to safety.

Photo by Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images.

Wherever you swim this summer, be mindful of your surroundings and never swim alone.

The buddy system is not just for kids. Always swim with someone, and stick to parks and beaches with lifeguards. Summer days are a lot more fun when everyone gets home safe.

Want to experience a rip current from the comfort of dry land? Watch the footage from Derrick Johns' GoPro in its entirety:

And if you haven't already, go snag a selfie stick. It's banned pretty much every place worth going, but on the off chance you can use it, it just might save your life.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less