Fun in the summer sun comes with a scary disclaimer.
Hiding in plain sight are dangerous summer germs and bacteria that can be a bigger bummer than a first-degree sun burn or rain on the Fourth of July.
With Americans’ favorite time of the year finally here, so are the Germs of Summer, which are again ready to potentially cause illness and misery to unsuspecting summer fun seekers.
It’s natural for people to drop their germ guard during summer. After a hard-fought winter and spring of staving off the cold and the flu, we generally live more carelessly in the summer with minimal fear of getting sick. But the threat of illness is still present with harmful germs and bacteria lying in wait at our favorite summer hot spots.
Let’s take a look at the Top 5 Germiest Places of Summer:
Pools and Water Parks
The Awful Truth About Kids’ Summer Heaven is there are few germier places on Earth. Despite chlorine’s best efforts, chloride resident parasites like cryptosporidium are lurking in most pools. As the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls reports, outbreaks of diarrhea from cryptosporidium are rising across the USA annually, averaging 30 per year. Resulting diarrhea can last between three and seven days. Unknowing preschoolers who have accidents in pools can contaminate the water for the entire swimming community. Diapers can’t contain all the danger.
“They release fecal material into the pool and it infects all the people the rest of the day because the parasite is so resistant to chlorine,” Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor of microbiology and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson, told Fox News.
And the trouble doesn’t stop with cryptosporidium, from gastrointestinal illnesses to ear infections, public water areas are often breeding grounds for numerous bacteria.
How to protect yourself and your family: Do not swallow pool or waterpark playground water and always rinse off in the shower before getting in or out of a pool. Also, change your baby’s diaper frequently and don’t let family members sick with diarrhea swim.
Much to the disappointment of the Beach Boys, beach sand can actually harbor more fecal bacteria and remain longer than river and seawater contaminated with waste, according to a study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
How to protect yourself and your family: Avoid getting sand in your food and always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available for you eat.
Motels & Hotels
A revolving door of germs on vacation, the irony of this germ hot spot is that the ritzier the hotel means sometimes germier accommodations. A study by TravelMath, an online trip-planning site, surprisingly found rooms in four and five-star hotels had more germs than those in three star inns.
Once inside hotels, germs unpack and spread out everywhere, and we mean everywhere: remote controls, doorknobs, light switches, clock radios, telephones, bathroom countertops and room desks. And with more people traveling in the summer more than any other time of year, germs are finding nearly zero no vacancy signs at America’s motels and hotels.
How to protect yourself and your family: After checking in, de-germ your room. Use anti-bacterial wipes to clean surfaces, wash your hands frequently 20 seconds at a time, and never touch your eyes, mouth or nose or scratch an open wound.
Alas, there’s no better place in town to pick up fresh, local and organic produce, but farmer’s market food – like all food sources – can be exposed to salmonella, E. coli and other pathogens and bacteria from the soil and water where it’s grown.
How to protect yourself and your family: Wash all your produce when you get home, and use a scrub brush for those with rough skin like cantaloupe. Store raw produce and produce that has been washed in your clean vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.
Sandals and Flip Flops
Nothing says summer like sandals and flip flops, but remember, with every step, your comfortable, beloved summer footwear is collecting bacteria by the thousands. A study conducted by the University of Miami found sandals and flip flops can host a scary 18,000 germs, including feces, bacteria and vomit.
How to protect yourself and your family: Take your shoes off at the door, clean them regularly (once a week is a good interval) and wash your hands after handling them.
Harmful germs and bacteria can derail your family’s summer fun in the blink of an eye or a quick, unknowing touch. Remember, summer germs are also lurking on grills, on playgrounds and in hot tubs among other hot spots of the season.
Don’t let the germs of summer spoil the sunniest and most fun time of the year for your family. Know where germs are lurking, and know how to sidestep them.