The rinse cup won’t be safe for you. Not only did the guys you’re playing beer pong against just sink their shots, but the warm Bud Light you have to drink is probably infested with all kinds of diarrhea-inducing filth, finds new, disgusting research from Clemson University.
Clemson students decided to ruin the game for everyone by germ-testing the balls their classmates used to play beer pong, a.k.a. Beirut. Shocker: When you miss and the ball rolls across your buddy’s dirty carpet, it may pick up bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, the Clemson tests show.
After your pal has collected your miss and launched it into your cup, the bacteria-infested liquid you’re drinking could cause nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and a handful of other unpleasant reactions, explains Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., a food safety and public health educator at the University of Arizona.
Despite what you may have heard, the alcohol content of your drink isn’t nearly high enough to kill germs, Reynolds says. She adds that splashing the ball in warm water—or even in warm soapy water—won’t do you any good. “That will only reduce the number of bacteria by about 10 percent, which isn’t enough to keep you from becoming sick.”
Wait a second, you may say. I play beer pong all the time and I don’t get sick! Reynolds says the symptoms of an infection can take up to 2 weeks to present themselves—meaning the upset stomach you blamed on your Mexican dinner may actually have resulted from the party you attended 10 days ago. She adds that many of the symptoms guys associate with drinking too much—like a headache or frequent trips to the bathroom—could just as easily be the result of an infection.
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