The Beach Exposure and Child Health Study (BEACHES) quantified the behavior of children at recreational beach areas to evaluate how various behaviors might affect their exposure to environmental contaminants such as bacteria and chemicals. Due to limited information in the study about abrasions, we conducted a literature review to examine how marine bacteria cause infections in open wounds. The literature review revealed possible adverse health effects from the bacterium Vibrio vulnificus
due to its increasing prevalence and the severity of infection. We used data from the BEACHES study to review children’s behavior and their susceptibility to abrasions. Children six years of age and younger were evaluated before and after 1 h of play for open or healing abrasions at two beaches in Miami-Dade County, Florida (Crandon and Haulover), and two beaches in Galveston County, Texas (Stewart and Seawall). The children were videotaped to monitor their activities and to determine the behavior that would increase their susceptibility to obtaining abrasions. Overall, 58.2% of the children had at least one existing abrasion before playing at the beach, while 8.2% of the children acquired a new abrasion during their time at the beach. Children who acquired new abrasions most often played in the sea water, with new abrasions most frequently occurring on exposed skin surfaces such as the knees. Proper wound care before and after visiting the beach should be encouraged to minimize the risk of bacterial infection, especially considering the possible detrimental impacts that can be caused by some bacterial pathogens through wound exposures.
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