The sand is wonderful, the air is salty, the breeze takes the edge off the heat and humidity. It's a typical day at the beach in places like Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, and Fort Morgan. However, there is a deadly detail that those who enjoy a splash in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico need to be mindful of. That detail is flesh eating bacteria. The Alabama Department of Health has expanded their warning about the organisms to include even more of the state's bodies of water.

Vibrio bacteria is the reason for this stern warning. The bacteria is actually very common in the warm coastal waters during the Summer months. The biggest threat from the bacteria is when bathers are not cognizant of their own bodies and foolishly enter the water with an open cut or sore. These wounds are like an open door to these microorganisms. It's a door you want to make sure you have closed.

Health officials say if you have open wounds simply stay out of the water. If you are injured, cut, or scraped while in the water then get out of the water and clean the wound as thoroughly and as quickly as you can. They suggest a good cleaning with soap and water and it wouldn't be a bad idea to have the scrape or cut treated professionally.

Another issue with this kind of bacteria is that it can be quite harmful or even deadly to those who consume raw or undercooked seafood. Raw oysters are a particular concern in this regard. The biggest threat will be for those individuals who already have health issues that compromise their immune system. If you think you might be at risk, then do the smart thing and wait until another time of year or consult your doctor.

Now that we've painted this tremendous doom and gloom portrait of a day at the beach let's reflect on these facts. The beaches are not closed. It is safe for most people to enjoy the water and eat the seafood. However, we all know that one individual who doesn't practice common sense and whose approach to life is not always the most intelligent. If you wouldn't mind taking care of them, then we can all enjoy the beaches without fear of flesh-eating bacteria.

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