With the recently reports of flesh eating bacteria necrotizing fasiitis in some of our area beaches, Bradenton.com shared some interesting facts about the bacteria.

One of the facts that came to light was that you can also contract the bacteria from the sand. Certain bacterias colonize in the sand. The most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis isGroup A Strep.

And while the term “flesh eating” may sound really scary (and it is) the chances of contracting this bacteria are relatively low. And according to the DOH of Sarasota County, officials do NOT test area waters for the flesh-eating bacteria because is it common during warm-water months. In other words, they know its here.

The Department of Health says this:

“Yes, it is out there, but that doesn’t mean you’ll contract the bacteria. People do not ‘catch’ necrotizing fasciitis, it is a complication or symptom of a bacterial infection that has not been properly and promptly treated”.

However, DOH does stress the importance of taking the proper precautions when going to the beach. The advice given by the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health include:

    • Avoid walking, sitting or swimming in the Gulf with open wounds.
    • Properly clean and treat wounds after accidental exposure to Gulf and surrounding waters.
    • Seek medical treatment immediately if you develop any signs of infection.
    • Communicate to your doctor that you exposed an open wound to area waters, pools or hot tubs.
Overall, you need to be cautious when swimming or beaching with an open wound. People with an illness that compromises the immune system may be more at risk. But always take extra care to seal any cuts or wounds on the body before going to the beach. Also, be aware of any new cuts or scrapes you get while at the beach.

And as a side note, be aware that taking your dog to the beach to swim may also expose them to this bacteria too. While its not mentioned in this story, according to WagWalking.com, dogs can also be exposed to this same bacteria. It is much harder for us to see a scratch or cut on their body through their fur coats. Something as small as a flea bite or nail scratch could leave your family pet with a serious bacterial infection. I know we take our Pug “Gunner” out on the Gulf with us often, however I will now be much more cautious about letting him in the water. Remember they can’t tell us if they have a little cut or scratch. It’s up to us to protect them.

Something to think about. BTW… you might also like this story:

Rich Fields is a veteran radio broadcaster who is best known for having been the Announcer on the Price is Right. He is also an Emmy Award winning Meteorologist .