Things can get germy in summer: A microbiologist explains methods to prevent diseases when barbecuing, within the swimming pool or on the mountaineering trail

When the flowers bloom and the temperatures rise, many individuals can't wait to get outside again. But despite the fact that the sun is shining, there may be also a dark side that could make the good outdoors less beautiful.

In the forest, within the soil, within the water and in your food there are herds of germs that wish to smash your summer.

I’m a Professor of Microbiology at Indiana University School of Medicine, where I study and teach infectious diseases. Here are some things to bear in mind to enable you to and your family members stay illness-free during your summer activities.

Germs within the backyard

There is nothing higher than the smell of a very good barbecue and fresh treats from your individual garden. To make sure that people leave your party with only good memories, you ought to be aware of the germs which can be often related to Food poisoningwhich may result in diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever.

Meat, including fish and poultry, often harbors harmful bacteria resembling , or . Raw meat can contaminate anything it touches, so remember to wash your hands and disinfect surfaces and utensils. To avoid cross-contamination, don’t store raw meat near prepared foods. Meat products should be cooked until correct temperatures to make sure that harmful germs are killed before consumption.

Person washing a cutting board in the kitchen sink
Washing cooking utensils that come into contact with raw meat can reduce cross-contamination.
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In addition to bacteria, a parasite called could cause acute food poisoning. Parasites are microscopically small Oocysts within the feces of infected catsOocysts remain within the environment for a yr or more, and other animals, including humans, may inadvertently ingest them.

In case of infection, Tissue cysts within the meat of livestock – another excuse to cook your meat thoroughly. Pregnant women You should be especially careful to avoid this since the parasite can cross the placenta and cause miscarriage or birth defects.

To prevent toxoplasmosis attributable to oocysts, wear gloves when gardening, wash fruit and veggies, and be sure the sandbox is freed from cat feces and covered when not in use.

Germs in water

Water recreational facilities resembling swimming pools, water parks and fountains are an important technique to escape the summer heat. Smell of chlorine is a very good sign that the water is treated to kill many sorts of germs.

Unfortunately, some germs in chlorine can remain infectious for several minutes or days, which is loads of time to be transmitted from one person to a different. These include viruses resembling NorovirusBacteria like and parasites resembling And .

Accidental ingestion of those germs could cause stomach problems, including diarrhea, which may change into serious if results in dehydrationTo avoid infection, swim in well-maintained facilities and avoid swallowing the water. To avoid infecting others, avoid public waters for not less than every week if you’ve diarrhea.

Hand holding pH and chlorine test kit over a swimming pool
While a well-chlorinated pool can kill most germs, some can still lurk within the water.
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Bacteria within the water that get stuck in your ear can result in a painful infection called swimmer's ear. Wearing earplugs within the water may also help prevent this.

Ponds, rivers and lakes can be home to those diarrhea-causing germs. Warm fresh water can even the so-called “brain-eating amoeba.” Inhaling water with this disease is incredibly rare, but almost all the time fatal. Wearing a nose clip may also help prevent infection.

When you go to the beach, remember to use waterproof bandages if you’ve an open wound, piercing or tattoo. Global warming has led to a rise in so-called “flesh-eating bacteria” that cause a dangerous disease called necrotizing fasciitisThese infections could be very difficult to treat and will require surgical removal of the affected tissue or limb.

Shellfish resembling oysters, clams and mussels filter the seawater once they are eaten, trapping germs of their bodies. Eating raw shellfish can result in severe food poisoning from infections. with bacteria or Oocysts.

Tracking germs

While mountaineering or camping, it’s possible you’ll come across water that appears clean enough to drink, but don't be tempted.

Be sure to Boil water or filter it well You drink to avoid bacteria like and parasites resembling And These intestinal pathogens cause cramps, nausea and diarrhea – particularly unpleasant symptoms when you do not need access to sanitation in the home.

After a really mild winter, you possibly can expect to see lots of ticks and mosquitoes in the summertime, each of which transmit serious diseases. Because they feed on blood, ticks can inject bacteria that Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted feverThey can even transmit a parasite that causes BabesiosisSymptoms of illness following a tick bite ought to be checked by a health care provider as soon as possible.

Person applying insect repellent to a child's arm outdoors
Insect repellents can protect you from diseases transmitted through insect bites.
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Mosquitoes can transmit quite a few viruses that enter the bloodstream during a blood meal. The most typical mosquito-borne viruses within the United States include West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalomyelitis And ZikaIn most cases, these viruses cause flu-like symptoms that typically disappear on their very own. However, infection with the Zika virus while pregnant can result in birth defectand West Nile virus could cause acute fever and neurological effects in some people.

To Avoid tick and mosquito bitesApply insect repellent and canopy your skin each time possible. Wear light colours so you possibly can see the insects more easily. Ticks like shade and tall grass, so mow your lawn to about 2 inches high. Be sure to examine your body and scalp for ticks after being outdoors.

It's vital to follow local news reports about outbreaks of infectious pathogens in your area or destination. By following these precautions, you're sure to have an important time without being bothered by the germs of summer.

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