One popular drinking game has the potential to make participants really sick.
It’s called beer pong, and it’s a favorite at parties all around the country. It’s not just for college kids – party goers of all ages love this game, but a new study shows that it has the potential to make people quite ill. A study at Clemson University found that the warm beer in the rinse cup alone is likely full of many different kinds of diarrhea causing bacteria, but it gets better.
The students at Clemson decided that they were going to test the balls that partiers used to play beer pong with and found that everything from Listeria, Salmonella and E.coli could be on them. Why? When the balls don’t land in the cup, they might roll onto the floor, the table, and maybe someone’s foot before it lands, and gets plunked into that warm bacteria soup again.
Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D, a University of Arizona food safety and public health educator explains that the problem is that this type of bacteria has the potential to cause problems such as fever, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
But the alcohol makes it safe doesn’t it? It turns out that the alcohol content in the beer you’re drinking simply isn’t high enough to kill the bacteria and germs on that ball. Reynolds says that washing the ball in warm soapy water, or just warm water won’t even help. She says that doing this will only get rid of about 10 percent of bacteria, and that won’t stop people from becoming ill.
What about all the people that play this game all the time and don’t wind up getting sick? They might, and don’t even know it. As it turns out, the symptoms of infection from these bacteria can take about two weeks to show up, which means that the stomach bug that you think you picked up from hanging out with your little sister likely came from the party you were at about two weeks ago. Reynolds points out that lots of the symptoms that people think have to do with drinking; headache, lots of bathroom visits; might actually be from being infected by the bacteria.
Think that’s the only game you’re risking your health with? Think again. Games like Keg Stands, where you put your mouth in the same place where lots of other people put their mouths, hands… You know. Well, that’s not good for you either. You can get the flu, and even corona virus.
Shotgunning beers can expose you to viruses of the intestines. It’s from opening the beer with your keys, and these viruses can be extremely harmful. And avoid the games that use quarters, which are just as damaging.
Oh, and, don’t reuse old cups. That’s just a recipe for illnesses. They might have been rinsed, but you can spread things like mold, yeast and other types of germs that can make you seriously sick.