Ocean swimming changes skin microbiome, could raise infection risk

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Ocean water exposure changes the human skin microbiome and could increase the likelihood of infection after swimming, according to findings presented at ASM Microbe.

“Our research demonstrated that ocean water washed off normal bacteria and simultaneously deposited ocean-borne bacteria onto the skin,” Marisa Chattman Nielsen, MS, a PhD candidate at the University of California, Irvine, told Infectious Disease News. “These changes persisted for at least 24 hours, and this could present an opportunity for pathogenic organisms to cause infection.”

Other studies have linked ocean water activities and infection. One study found that surfers are more likely to harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their gut.

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Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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