If sharks and sunburns do not scare you on the beach, this may be: According to preliminary research week, it only takes 10 minutes in the sea too swim to cover your skin with a fresh layer of bacteria. While not necessarily that bad, some of these bacteria can cause disease or increase the risk of infection by interfering with the delicate microbial environment of your skin called the microbiome.
Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, have conducted a peculiar study, went to the beach and recruited a select group of beachgoers. They were people who rarely swam in the sea and did not use sunscreen at the moment. They also did not have to take a bath in the past 12 hours or have used antibiotics for the last six months. Before swimming, the nine volunteers who had finally been recruited were de-skined on the back of their calves and went swimming for 10 minutes. After her return and complete dehydration, the skin was wiped again and six hours and a day later.
Before swimming, it was found that the microbiome of each volunteer was easy to distinguish. But immediately thereafter, their microbiome changed and became much more alike.
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"Our data shows for the first time that exposure to seawater can alter the diversity and composition of the human skin microbiome," said Drs. Lead author Marisa Chattman Nielsen, PhD student at the University of California, Irvine, in a dismissal from the university. "During bathing, the bacteria of normal inhabitants were washed off, while the marine bacteria deposited on the skin."
The changes in the microbiome were transient, with the best on the way to baseline within 24 hours. However, there were some worrying results. At each person they discovered common sea bacteria called Vibrio . Most types of Vibrio are essentially harmless, but some are responsible for diseases such as cholera or can rarely cause carnivorous skin infections, especially in people with weakened immune systems. The team's methods could only identify the presence of Vibrio bacteria, not their specific species. However, they appeared to be attracted to the skin of humans, as a larger proportion of Vibrio bacteria was found on volunteers' skin than in the surrounding seawater.
"While many Vibrio are not pathogenic. The fact that we restored them after swimming on the skin shows that pathogenic Vibrio species may possibly remain on the skin after swimming, "said Nielsen.
The results are in progress; This week, they will be presented at the annual conference of the American Society for Microbiology. Assuming this is the case, the study could help to explain a well-supported pattern: beachgoers swimming in the sea sooner or later suffer from stomach pain or ear infections than those who stay in the sand. And while most of the blame is due to the germs (often from feces) that enter our body, the team suspects that marine bacteria as a whole can make their illness more likely to affect the skin microbial.
"Recent studies have shown that the microbiome of human skin plays an important role in immune system function, in localized and systemic diseases, and in infections," said Nielsen. "A healthy microbiome protects the host from colonization and infection by opportunistic and pathogenic microbes."
Take a shower after swimming in the sea and try not to get salt water in your mouth.