Last summer, the dangerous staph bacteria MRSA was found in sand and water for the first time at five public beaches along the coast of Washington, and scientists think the state is not the only one with this problem.
Are beaches still safe for our children? To find out, we contacted pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson, and here's what she had to say:
"I have been amazed at the increase in the number of MRSA infections we have seen over the past five years. When my daughter was born, it was considered a relatively uncommon infection mostly relegated to hospital patients. Now my daughter is in kindergarten, and MRSA has become so common that when a physician is treating a skin infection with an antibiotic, most will make sure that the medicine is effective against MRSA. I am not terribly surprised that MRSA has been identified at public beaches, but I am concerned. This infection can spread quickly and cause secondary problems. So if your child (or you!) develops an angry-looking rash, or if a cut isn't healing well, it's worth a call to your doctor. This is true whether or not you've been to the beach."