According to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Environmental Protection Agency, beach-goers who play in the sand are at a greater risk of contracting gastrointestinal diseases and diarrhea. They found that beach sand may occasionally be contaminated with fecal contamination due to runoff or wildlife droppings. Based on their study of 27,000 beach-goers, they found that 13% of people who dug sand with their hands and 23% of people who were buried in the sand ended up with some form of negative health issue. But when you look at the overall beach going population, including people who didn't get overly touchy with the sand, less than 10% of all beach-goers showed any signs of illness.
Bottom-line, they recommend that if you go to the beach and play in the sand, just wash your hands. And to be honest with you, is anyone really surprised by this? After all, the beach is the wild west for many vacationers. I mean, where else do you go on vacation where you might end up being asked to pee on someones leg who has been stung by a jellyfish? And about those seagulls, don't you feel lucky if you can go an entire week without taking a hit from one of their doo strikes? So forget this article and go embrace the beach. And if you happen to be one of the unlucky ones who end up with a tummy ache, take solace in knowing that you won't even notice your stomach pain over your 2nd degree sunburn.
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Photo Credit: sand dining, seagull, sunbathe