“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.” Luckily, I’m not going to warn you about a man-eating shark, but this information on how flesh-eating super bugs could ruin your summer fun is almost as scary! We got it from the website Health News Today: Researchers at the University of Miami had volunteers go to public beaches and spend fifteen minutes in the ocean. Each person took a sample of the water at different times during their swim. When the scientists analyzed the samples, more than a third contained dangerous staph bacteria - including the superbug MRSA! Now this may be creepy, but it doesn’t mean you have to avoid the beach altogether. Lisa Plano is a professor of microbiology. She’s also one of the authors of the study, and she says that it’s fine to frolic in the surf - you just need to take a few precautions:
- Shower before going to the beach. The researchers aren’t exactly sure how the bacteria get into the ocean, but they suspect that they hitchhike on people. So, rinsing off before going in the water is a good idea for everyone.
- Don’t go swimming if you have open cuts or wounds. Amy Newburger is a dermatologist at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. She says that our skin does an amazing job of keeping bacteria out of our body, but even the smallest cut is like a superhighway for germs. So, play it safe and avoid the waves until you’re all healed.
- Take a long shower when you get home. The keyword here is long. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can’t rely on antibacterial soaps to kill germs. Your best bet is scrubbing with lots of running water. That rinses germs off your body and down the drain.
We want you to enjoy your summer vacation. So remember: To avoid anything lurking in the deep, shower before and after you swim, and if you cut yourself, stay out of the water. That way, the only thing you’ll bring home from the beach is seashells.