Playground Germs Part 1

Playground Germs Part 1
By: Wendy Ray

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO --We know we can't avoid germs, but you may be surprised to find out just how many are on the things your kids come in contact with all the time.

Microbiologist Jim Champine says, "There's all kinds of microorganisms all around, bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and molds" All of those things could be on the playground equipment your children play on. "Bacteria is the easiest to find, but it's usually pretty harmless. Viruses are important to find, usually they're the ones that cause disease," he says. Dr. Champine went with us to a Cape Girardeau park Thursday morning. He swabbed different equipment to see what types of bacteria and viruses are on it. Dr. Champine says, "Of course if you find any of them, like bacteria, it means the other ones will be there. If you think of dirt and germs there's a chance they'll be there." "The palm of your hand is where kids are going to spread it around," he adds.
Dr. Champine says our skin is covered with harmless bacteria, but that's not the case with every part of our body. "There's another one, staphylococcus aureus, that causes things like wounds, boils, and rashes that we'll be looking for. It's the harmful cousin that usually lives in the nose." And that could be on the playground equipment? "Yes," Dr. Champine says. "If a child sneezes, the staff virus is often spread by sneezing and coughing and so forth."

Children pick up what another one leaves behind; that concerns Ashton and Autumn Mattingly's dad. "We just wash up as soon as we get done," Bryan Mattingly says.

Good hygiene is the best way to keep your children healthy. Dr. Champine is testing the swabs he took Thursday at the lab and results will be in Monday. We'll show you what he finds, Monday, on Heartland News at Five.