Water Safety

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is reminding folks to stay safe as they enjoy the water as the summer months wind down. Earlier this year, they enlisted the help of elementary students statewide to create posters featuring water safety images.  Here is the winner from this year’s contest:

Grand-Prize-Winner-water safety

The poster contest is just one way in which DPHHS is spreading the message about safe recreating in water. Every year, thousands of Americans get sick after recreating in water due to ingestion of germs found in places where people swim. Cryptosporidium, or crypto, is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease among people in the United States. Reports often peak in August. This was true during the summer months of 2013 in Montana when there was a large increase in illnesses caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium. Many cases involved young children who spent time at pools and splash parks.

“People need to be aware that chlorine and other pool water treatments don’t kill germs instantly,” said Melanie Shaw of the DPHHS Food and Consumer Safety Section, which oversees the licensing and inspection of public swimming pools. “We all share the water we swim in, and we each need to do our part to keep ourselves, our families, and our friends healthy.”

In addition, Montanans are urged to follow these safety tips:

  • Shower with soap before entering pool.
  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  • Don’t swallow pool water.
  • Take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30-60 minutes.
  • Supervise swimmers, especially young and inexperienced ones. Be a role model for others.
  • Learn life-saving skills.
  • Use life vests where applicable.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs while swimming.

For more information, visit: http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/rwii/

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