Beware of the Sand

Drop the sand trowel and get back in the car if you’re on vacation this weekend: A new study shows that levels of E.coli bacteria are actually higher on the beach than in the ocean. Scientists at the American Journal of Epidemiology interviewed more than 27,000 visitors at seven U.S. beaches and quizzed them about their activities. Ten to 12 days later, participants were contacted by phone and asked about any illnesses they had experienced since their trip to the beach. Those poor souls who dug around in the sand were slightly more likely to develop stomach illnesses and diarrhea than those who had spent more time in the water. But don’t fret, sandcastle-builders: Another study published in the Journal of Water and Health has one simple solution—wash your hands. Rinsing hands once in clean water removed 92 percent of E.coli; rinsing four times removed nearly 100 percent of the germs.