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Not exactly Jaws: Shark bite brings national attention to Galveston and shocked teen, but island vets are unfazed

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shark bite
Courtesy of KPRC

A shark bite in shallow standing water? That's what a Bellaire teen is dealing with after a routine Galveston beach day turned into a national news story.

Fourteen-year-old Mikaela Medina decided to cool off in the water after an afternoon at the beach with her family when she felt something slam into her back. Startled and confused as the what had hit her, she quickly made her way back to shore. It was not until her mother pointed out the teeth marks and blood that Medina started shedding tears.

Luckily, a family friend who's a doctor happened to be on site to address the shark wound, which was minor enough to not need a trip to the hospital or even stitches. 

The Galveston Island Beach Patrol notes that a shark siting isn't a rarity in the area, but a bite? That's noteworthy. There have only been about 10 documented shark bites off of Galveston in the last 25 years, most of which have no life-threatening effects.

Heading to the beach soon? Don't let the attack scare you. Instead brush up on your shark swimming safety:

  • Don't enter the water if you have any open, bleeding wounds. Besides the risk of infection from all of the bacteria you're exposing yourself to, sharks are highly sensitive to blood in water. They can smell one drop of blood when diluted in 10,000 drops of water. 
  • When walking in murky water, shuffle your feet to scare any nearby creatures lurking on the sea floor. 
  • Stay away from large groups of fish. Sharks are after the fish, not you. So do your best to avoid their dinner. 
  • Steer clear of fishing boats that can sometimes leave a trail of blood. 
  • Do not wear super bright bathing suits or anything shiny that could resemble fish scales under water. 
  • Don't wander too far away from shore, and if you feel anything roughly brush up against you, return to shore immediately. 

The last (and only one of two ever) fatal attack shark attacks in Galveston occurred in 1962, so it's safe to say that despite the recent events, the only thing you should be concerned about is why the island's waters are so murky, not so much what's lurking within them.

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