Herpes aside, safety issues remain in beer pong

DKS Editors

Beer pong is a big deal for college students.

Every student knows a good house party on the weekends must have beer pong or else it isn’t worth visiting.

To some college students, beer pong is like the Super Bowl magnified about 100 times and combines the skill and patience of carnival games with the joy and fellowship of drinking.

Imagine these students’ reactions when national news sources reported the Centers for Disease Control reported beer pong as a major contributor to the spread of herpes.

Cue dramatic music with students on their knees waving fists in the air and yelling, “Noooo!”

Thankfully for the pseudo-athletes, the CDC was quick to respond, saying it had never conducted such studies, chalking the story up as a hoax.

But don’t wipe the sweat from your brow just yet.

Although the CDC debunked the herpes myth, the U.S. National Institute of Health discourages sharing any eating utensil to lessen the chance of contracting diseases such as herpes.

This would include those all-too-familiar plastic cups set at each end of the table filled about a fifth of the way in lukewarm light beer.

The logic is sensible enough: A person with a herpes outbreak drinks from several cups and sets them aside. The next player grabs the cups, racks them and subsequently drinks from them, acquiring the virus left by the previous player.

Is it possible to spread herpes? Maybe. Is it likely? Not so much, but common sense should tell students not to play if the chance of contracting any illness is apparent, which could sometimes be visible.

Regardless of the validity of the story, there are still many hygienic issues to be taken seriously when playing beer pong.

One of the more cautious measures taken is the rinse cup: a cup of water set off to the side in which balls are dunked after each turn.

Even though the balls have been rinsed off before being tossed into another cup of beer, sanitary issues are still just as relevant.

The rinse cup can contain germs tracked from the floor and may contain diseases such as E. coli.

Understandably, some of you are probably more wary than ever and are probably swearing off beer pong as you read.

But there are precautions you can take.

Always replace the rinse cup after each game.

Try to keep the table and surrounding area as clean as possible to avoid tracking bacteria into drinkable cups.

Above all, be responsible and safe.

Too much beer is a bad thing, no matter what anyone at any given party tells you.

In 2005, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found 150,000 college students annually develop health problems related to alcohol abuse.

In itself, drinking is not a bad thing, but too much can be harmful to yourself and those around you.

If you choose to drink or play beer pong, make sure you’re safe and responsible.

This editorial was originally published March 13 by Eastern Illinois University’s Daily Eastern News. Content was made available by UWire.com.