I'm not sure if it's a by-product of our media atmosphere, a hyper-awareness caused by Discovery Channel's yearly Shark Week, or the effect of watching 40 years' worth of Jaws replays - but shark attacks tend to generate a lot of attention.

Normally, news of a few attacks every season wouldn't stand out to me - after all, it's summer, and the only thing scarier than swimsuit shopping is the prospect of an underwater predator waiting to eat your newly tanned legs.

But when I saw that the eighth person this year had been attacked off the coast of North Carolina, it stood out to me.

Now let's put it context. Shark attacks are statistically very rare and it’s even more rare that they are fatal. In fact, every year, more people are killed on average by cows (20), spiders(7), dogs (28), and bees (58) than were killed by sharks (1). Yes, you heard that right - cows.

So what's behind this spike? Well, there are a few factors at play. One explanation is increased sea turtle nestings, which lures sharks who try to catch the turtles after they lay eggs.

Then there's upwelling, where more nutrient rich water is brought to the surface, attracting more fish and thus sharks. Our generally warmer water temperatures have brought sharks farther north than ever this year - introducing them to the higher number of people swimming this year because it got so warm so early.

So if you’re heading on vacation to the Carolinas, Florida, Hawaii, or even the Cape this summer here are some tips from the Florida Museum of Natural History to keep you safe:

1. Stay close to shore and stay in a group- Sharks are less likely to approach if there is more than one person and in the event that something does happen you won’t be too far away from help.

2. Stay out of the water if you’re bleeding and avoid wearing jewelry when swimming. Blood, even in small amounts, can attract sharks and jewelry can resemble fish scales when reflecting the sun’s light.

3. Try to avoid areas used for fishing and avoid swimming at night. People fishing sometimes chum up the water and the ground up fish can attract sharks. Diving birds and porpoises could be an indication that sharks near by. Sharks also are more active at night.

4. Avoid murky waters, bright clothing, and swimming with pets- sharks see contrast well and excessive splashing, from pets or otherwise, make you a more likely target.

5. Be extremely careful when swimming near sandbars and dropoffs, that’s where sharks like to hang out.

6. And stay out of the water if sharks have been spotted near by.

Of course, if you see a shark - evacuate the water if you can and don’t harass it. And lastly - remember that the likelihood of encountering a shark on your next beach outing is low. Don't get so caught up in the possibility that you forget those everyday measures that get far less airtime - Stay hydrated, wear and reapply sunscreen, and don't overdo it with the ice cream.

Okay, that last one is optional.

Security Mom is a podcast hosted by Juliette Kayyem that aims to unpack how the strange and secretive world of national security works. Subscribe to the Security Mom podcast in  iTunes.