It seems that even if swimming in the ocean if a fun thing to do, it might not be that healthy. This has been discovered to alter the skin microbiome and may increase the vulnerability to infection.
The research has been presented at ASM Microbe 2019, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
Human skin microbiome changes in the ocean
“Our data demonstrate for the first time that ocean water exposure can alter the diversity and composition of the human skin microbiome,” said Marisa Chattman Nielsen, the lead author on the study.
She continued and explained that “While swimming normal resident bacteria were washed off while ocean bacteria were deposited onto the skin.”
Researchers have detected ocean bacteria on all the participants at the study after air drying and, at 6 to 24 hours post-swimming.
Some people acquired more bacteria than others, and they had them for a more extended period of time.
This research has been conducted due to other previous studies which have been showing various associations between ocean swimming and infections.
Exposure to infections due to more factors
The reasons included poor water quality in some areas and beaches due to wastewater and stormwater runoff, reports Science Daily.
The recent research has shown that changes in the microbiome can leave the host susceptible to infection and it can also influence disease states.
Also, it’s worth noting that exposure to these waters can trigger gastrointestinal and respiratory illness, ear infection and skin infections as well.
The research involved 9 volunteers at the beach who did not use sunscreen, were infrequently exposed at the ocean and did not take a bath ]in the last 12 hours and did not take any antibiotics in the previous 6 months.
Before swimming, all the participants had different communities of bacteria on them, but after swimming, they had similar communities of bacteria completely different from the ones they had before.
“One very interesting finding was that Vibrio species – only identified to the genus level – were detected on every participant after swimming in the ocean, and air drying,” said. Nielsen. The Vibrio genus includes the bacterium that causes cholera.
Healthy skin microbiome protects our immune system.
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