Friday, August 1, 2014

Two things that should scare you more than flesh-eating bacteria in the water and dry drowning!!

Whenever someone posts anything dramatic on face book, I am instantly skeptical and have to check about three websites before I will believe it or even think about sharing it!  Google people. It is your friend! Statistics bring amazing perspective.

Living in Florida, I have seen two headlines hitting my newsfeed over and over.

Flesh eating bacteria in the water 
dry drowning.

 If I am going to be honest with you I have to admit that my first reactions were a typical knee-jerk response. 

Like this:


Then I remembered this one small fact. Please, if you take anything away from this blog, remember this. We live in the most sensational country ever. People actually NEED you to click on their article to make money. Therefore, (here comes your “takeaway”)

***The headline of an article is rarely 100% true.****

 In other words, it is likely 99% misleading.

The blog post that reads “10 reasons why I don’t homeschool,” is written by a homeschooling mom who is going to tell you a bunch of reasons that aren’t the reasons why she homeschools, and then she will tell you why she does.

 “Israel Violates Ceasefire” is the title of an article that will likely mention that Hamas had actually never even observed the ceasefire to begin with, so technically there was no ceasefire for Israel to violate.

Or even this from a “Christian” website:

 “Bob Coy update: Cocaine addicted, alcoholic….”
 and that is all you seen on the homepage.
   That one made my blood boil!! Because what does it sound like? It sounds like they are giving you an update. But that is his actually information that is 30 years old that they are chronicling in said article, not an update. But they got a bunch of people to click on their link and made money. Pretty disgusting if you ask me ( ) But I digress.  
My points are the following:

1. Never believe a headline.
2. Pay attention to the details.

Which leads me to the sensational (but 100% true) title of this blog post.

What is *more dangerous* than going in water where you could contract a flesh-eating bacteria at the beach?

 Driving to the beach.

Yes. Let’s look at the numbers that prompted the headline...

 “Florida Officials: Watch out for flesh-eating bacteria” from Florida Today:

Wow, I have to watch out for it? Ok. It must be everywhere!
Of course I had to google to find out how many people had actually died from this ailment in Florida over the course of a year. The answer? 11.

Now, please understand this.  I believe that every one of those lives is important, and I am not dimishing their value. My question is merely this, do the headlines and fear mongering match the likelihood that it will actually happen to you.  And furthermore, are their suggestions for avoiding this disease practical?
So how do you avoid flesh eating bacteria? Don’t go into the water during the summer with a scrape or open wound or if you have a low immunity. Like, the whole summer? Any scrape? What if I don't know I have one? Full body scans for all of my 5 children before letting them in the water??
 Because...11 the whole state…. over the course of a year?

Let’s contrast that now with the number of fatalities that have occurred during that same year in Florida from driving accidents. Over 2,300.

So mathematically speaking, you are 209 times more likely to die on the way to the beach, then actually from a flesh eating bacteria at the beach.

What does that mean?

Go to the beach for the love of Pete.   But be careful on your drive there!! That’s what the headline should have read! Or maybe this:
“Stay in the ocean this summer to avoid being killed in a car.”

But instead we get:
“Watch out for flesh eating bacteria.” Oh boy.

Next, let’s cover dry drowning. Dry drowning occurs when a person inhales a small amount of water during a struggle. The results can be fatal. But you know what else is fatal? Real drowning. In fact, of all drowning cases, 99% of fatalities are typical drowning cases. But if you could see my face book feed you would think it was the opposite. Maybe one or two people mentioning that it is a good idea to get swim lessons, and everyone else is making sure I know about dry drowning.

 *Once again, the warning is not proportionate to the risk.* 
A better use of everyone's newsfeed would be to encourage others to make sure their kids learn how to  swim, like really swim, not with floaties.  Here is a statistic that actually should scare every single person in Florida. Drowning, the real kind, is the number one killer of kids under 5. Number one. Not cancer, not vaccinations, not flesh-eating bacteria, not even car accidents. Drowning. You must have your kids vaccinated to get them into school to make sure they don’t spread polio. But polio isn’t what is killing our little children. Water is.

There are a lot of people clamoring for our attention. And trust me, as an information junkie, I think information is absolutely important. I just think it should be proportionate to how it affects us and the world at large, and also what we can reasonably do about it.

This may surprise you, but I actually do believe that for safety reasons certain people should stay out of the water at the beach. But unlike Florida officials, my reasons aren’t because of flesh eating bacteria. The reason that people, kids especially, should stay out of the water is if one cannot swim!  Do not despair though, because “not being able to swim” is curable!! So find a good teacher. A good teacher can get your kid swimming in a week, not over the course of a million weeks. Do it now. Do it fast. Yes, it costs money, but seriously people. What is more important?

***Check out Miss Leigh's Swim School on FB  We used her on all five of our children. This is the youngest last summer. 


  1. I am so glad you wrote this. We are on our way to st Augustine and all tim can talk about is the flesh eating virus!!! I promptly re- read the whole thing to him! I knew it was going to be ok... But I think you sealed the deal! Thanks!

    1. Oh good! Have so much fun at the beach! And be careful on the road ;)

  2. What if I work at the beach? 5 days a week....and I DRIVE there? And I'm a Chef, so I have cuts and scraps on my arms, because I'm, like, super serious about my job. And I work to take care of my family. And my son's name is Pete. So, I DO go to the beach for the love of Pete! Wow. I feel better already. But what do I do about the virus carrying mosquitoes in Palm Beach County that have given 6 people a cold this summer?!?!?!?!?!?

  3. My.favorite.comment.ever! You had me cracking up!