Mother’s viral post raises concerns of harmful bacteria in ocean

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A mother’s Facebook post about bacteria in the water in North Myrtle Beach quickly went viral before being deleted. The mother claimed her child had gotten ill after swimming in the ocean.

Local doctors tell WNCT that bacteria in the ocean is always present, and mostly doesn’t impact human health. They said typically the eye has ways to guard itself from any type of bacteria.

“The only way to get bacteria into the eye is if you had a break in the cornea, and the cornea is much like skin. It’s very tough so it’s meant to be a barrier,” explained Dr. Yen Nguyen, an optometrist for MyEyeDr in Greenville.

Nguyen said normally someone would know if there was a break in the cornea because it would feel irritated and could be very painful. She said if bacteria were to get in the eye, it could cause loss of vision.

However, infections like orbital cellulitis can come from the water through sinus infection or a cut and then travel to the eye.

She also recommended using waterproof protection if you are concerned, like goggles.

In both North and South Carolina, water tests are done frequently. In North Carolina, the Recreational Water Testing Program tests 240 different swimming sites on a weekly basis.

For more information on water testing in our state, click here.

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