Clean-up workers and even some coastal residents, she said, are complaining of symptoms consistent with exposure to the volatile compounds found in oil, including dizziness, nausea, headaches and cough. Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) often gets asked if the water is safe to swim in, and fortunately, we have the answer! If soap and water don't work, try petroleum jelly or a commercially sold de-greaser that's made to be used on the skin. I have gotten into the water several times, usually to get line out of a prop or just for a few minutes to cool down. Hello, I have been fishing in the Northern Gulf of Mexico for over 20 years. People have been known to use gasoline to remove tar from their skin -- a bad idea all around, Emery said. Safe Places to Swim If you need a place to swim, consider choosing a hotel with a pool (or perhaps choosing a beach destination instead of New Orleans). By and large, most tourist-friendly areas will have safe swimming areas. If you get caught in a rip tide, the trick to surviving is to not try to swim directly back to shore. See additional information. The water in the open Gulf of Mexico is usually around 35 or 36 parts per thousand. But you must understand that if you have the signs of an infection it is critical to seek treatment immediately. The Gulf of Mexico is known for beautiful white-sand beaches and exciting offshore fishing. The Gulf of Mexico is known for beautiful white-sand beaches and exciting offshore fishing. This confirms data from BP, the owner of the crippled oil rig that has spewed countless barrels of crude oil into the Gulf since an April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers about 40 miles off the Louisiana coast, Emery said. Once you got about 33 parts per thousand, there was no risk," DePaola said. "If we did have the data, we would see that where you were swimming, and at what time of year, could make all the difference," DePaola said. "But these infections, even in the inshore waters are fairly rare. Located at the end of Alabama State Highway 59, … Once it gets in your bloodstream, the bacteria multiples exponentially in a few hours. You must remember this is the guy who just told us, after Fukushima meltdown, do not prepare for radioactive fallout, just listen to your government . That's just critical.". Crude oil contains many toxic chemicals, including volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, Rotkin-Ellman said. WEDNESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Now that oil and tar balls from the massive Gulf oil spill have begun washing up on the beaches of four states, many are wondering: What, if any, are the health risks to beachgoers and residents of the region? That means avoiding swimming in water that's visibly contaminated by oil. DePaola, who lives on Mobile Bay, said almost all cases of infection by the bacteria occur in brackish water, rather than the full saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico. GBF’s Water Monitoring Team collects valuable water quality data including fecal bacteria concentrations at many nearshore sites around the Bay on a monthly basis. Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. Rotkin-Ellman disagreed, noting that much also remains unknown about the health effects of the massive amounts of chemical dispersants used to fight the spill that break an oil slick into small drops. Beach & Water Safety Swimming There are many miles of shoreline within the national seashore. Little is known about how common vibrio infections related to swimming and fishing are. A common exposure pathway for fishermen involves the bait bucket. If you are peeling crabs or shrimp, you should assume you are being exposed, that they came from somewhere with the bacteria.". Obama says it is safe to swim in the Gulf and eat Gulf seafood, but don't believe him. If workers near the source of the spill don't seem to be in harm's way, then it's safe to presume that the oil reaching the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida isn't much of a risk to beachgoers and residents, Emery said. How long do “no-swim Locally, water levels were 2-3 feet higher due to Barry and that excess water is still flowing back out into the Gulf. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/20). Most Gulf beaches are located along a string of sandy barrier islands created by wave-washed quartz sand. Their skin can be more sensitive to the chemicals in oil. However, it is safe to fish and eat fin-fish from these waters. A fin poke, or getting stuck with the horn on a shrimp, can lead to an infection. The warmer water is a better MedicineNet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Salinity is measured in parts per thousand. If you start having the edema, or start seeing the red streaks on your skin, it is critical to get immediate medical attention. If you find yourself caught in a current, don’t panic and don’t fight the current. He is shucking oysters grown under his pier, and says he is constantly in the water with cuts, but has little fear of contracting an infection. "If you are in the water and have a preexisting wound, or get one while you are swimming, you should be even more careful treating it with peroxide or whatever than you would on land. "Now we have data not only from BP but OSHA that shows these worker exposures are minimal if not non-existent. Up-to-date water quality results Sometimes there are issues with the water … Yes, if you're used to chilly water. Still, beachgoers can't tell on their own if the oil they encounter is fresh or has been floating around awhile, Emery said. The issue, DePaola said, is salt. May 27, 2015 by woundcaresociety Leave a Comment You may have heard that salt water can be used as a natural wound healing treatment. yes it is safe to swim. People have been known to use gasoline to remove tar from their skin -- a bad idea all around, Emery said. The beaches are great but the water leaves a lot to be desired. Regarding water quality, it’s not all bad news. All rights reserved. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. "Also handling seafood. That's where 90 percent of the people are," DePaola said, referring to the beaches east of Fort Morgan, including Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Pensacola and along the Panhandle of Florida. Want More News? “No swim” signs have been placed outside of the effected areas. Testing we’ve done with the London Water Keeper, a charity that campaigns for a “Thames fit to swim in”, has shown that in certain conditions (primarily a spell without excessive rain Sign Up for MedicineNet Newsletters. "There are absolutely safe places to swim, which are the front Gulf beaches. Progress on BP Spill Containment, But Is It Safe to Swim? The idyllic image of a Caribbean beach involves placid, clear waters gently lapping against a palm-lined shore, but while you can find plenty of calm beaches in the Caribbean, playing in the water always carries a risk of drowning. "The thing about contracting vibrio from a cut is you don't have to have an underlying chronic illness, like with exposure from oysters. You can check salinity at various locations around Alabama's coast through the Dauphin Island Sea Lab's monitoring network. But here along the Gulf, where you have estuaries with marshes and shrimp and crabs, that's where you have the risk," DePaola said. Six Galveston Bay beaches have been listed as some of the most unsafe places to swim in Texas, according to a new report from Environment Texas. It’s not always safe to swim at Galveston beaches, research says CW39 by: J. Longa Posted: Aug 30, 2018 / 06:22 PM CDT / Updated: Aug 30, 2018 / … (Ben Raines/braines@al.com). Oil tar is sticky and difficult to remove. His specialty was Vibrio vulnificus, the bacteria responsible for a string of high profile deaths and amputations this summer among beachgoers. "The World Health Organization did a study looking at Vibrio in oysters. In the UK, it is estimated that there are between 150,000 and 500,000 houses with drain misconnections. yes, the water is usually calm, small waves, and the slope is very gentle and shallow. Among the recent cases, one was contracted in Biloxi, Miss. as anywhere in the gulf you need to watch out for sting rays and jellyfish and dont swim at dawn or dusk because sharks occasionally feed nearshore. On one point experts agree: Beachgoers need to exercise common sense. Before heading to the beach, Emery said it's a good idea to check with local or state authorities about health conditions. Grapefruit, hot peppers, vinegar, and more appear on WebMD's list of fat-fighting foods -- along with surprising facts about how they may work. Home to more than 8,426 miles of coastline, Florida's beaches are all typically safe for swimming year-round, notes the Florida Department of Health. The key, DePaola said, is recognizing the signs of an infection and seeking medical treatment right away. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. "If a piece breaks off in your skin, that's a place a micro-colony can grow," DePaola said. The people are great, the food is tasty, and the waters in the Persian Gulf are warm and most of the countries have wonderful To help the general public make an informed decision about the quality of water that they are swimming in, the city has partnered up with The Alabama Department of Public Health and The Alabama Department of Environment Development to monitor bacteria levels in the water. I know many people that do swim 50 miles “The Gulf and the bay are much warmer than some other areas of salt water,” Fanucchi said. There is no database looking at infections contracted by people who were swimming with an open wound or cut while fishing or cleaning seafood. All rights reserved (About Us). The group analyzed state water … Terms of Use. Most Gulf beaches are located along a string of sandy barrier islands created by wave-washed quartz sand. You can end up dead in a matter of days.". Though the oil washing up on the beaches probably isn't as harsh, it's still a good idea to keep it off your skin, Emery said. The Texas coast has something for everyone. home/health & living center/ exercise & fitness a-z list/ is it safe to go in the gulf coast's water? Read more: Fat-Burning Foods in Pictures: Blueberries, Green Tea, and More, SOURCES: Robert Emery, Dr. Data from the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) show that clean-up and repair workers in the Gulf of Mexico near the spill have not been exposed to harmful levels of toxins, said Robert Emery, vice president for safety, health, environment and risk management at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. If you do encounter tar balls or oil slicks, don't touch them. If the water is warm enough to be comfortable to swim in, you start having the risk. Research shows that the toxic potency of crude oil declines the longer the oil is floating in the water or in the air, a process called "weathering," Emery said. While dangerous if ingested or inhaled, these chemicals tend to dissipate and evaporate over time, experts said. If soap and water don't work, try petroleum jelly or a commercially sold de-greaser that's made to be used on the skin. Because small fish, such as croakers, and crustaceans such as shrimp, often have high levels of vibrio in their guts, the water in a bait bucket can develop high levels quickly. Read tips on staying safe in the water while swimming or enjoying water sports during your Caribbean vacation. Levels in the Gulf remain about 35 parts per thousand yearround. Riptides can easily pull you out into the gulf. The flesh-eating bacteria lighting up news reports all along the Gulf Coast has been around forever and is almost entirely avoidable if you know where to swim, said the nation's leading expert on the deadly bacteria. "If you are in Mobile Bay or any of our inside waters, pretty much everywhere you go is higher risk, even up to where you use a freshwater fishing license, above the bridges on Fish River or Dog River. Andy DePaola was the lead seafood microbiologist and subject matter expert for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration until he retired last fall. Vibrio bacteria perish in the salty waters of the open ocean. "In most of the world, Australia, Asia, on the Pacific Coast, it's just too salty or too cold. Continue boycotting BP, don't swim in the Gulf, don't buy Gulf seafood (take your vacations somewhere safer), and inundate (hourly, if need be) BP and the government … While the levels do change frequently, you should check the latest water findings before risking a swim and picking up something nasty. Lots of kids swim in the water. Not all experts agree that the spill poses a danger to the public at Gulf Coast beaches. Only tracks exposure from eating oysters to not try to swim in ocean. Bay and I am in the Gulf remain about 35 parts per yearround... High salinity levels are applicable for exposure while swimming as well. `` slicks do. 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