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DPHHS Message To All Montanans: Swim Safe!


State health officials are encouraging Montanans to be safe this summer while enjoying fun in the water.

“While out having fun this summer, keep in mind that water-related illness and injury can put a damper on that enjoyment,” said Department of Public Health and Human Services Director Richard Opper. “Montana has countless lakes, rivers and public swimming pools to enjoy and swimming has numerous health benefits, but Montanans just need to remember a few steps to stay safe.”

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

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 illness among people in the United States. Reports usually peak during summer when we spend time at pools and splash parks where young children are at risk the most. About one third of Montana’s 60 crypto cases reported swimming as likely exposure in 2014.

“People need to be aware that chlorine and other pool water treatments don’t kill germs instantly,” said Erik Leigh of the DPHHS Food and Consumer Safety Section that 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.”

To help spread this important public health message, DPHHS recently asked elementary school students to learn more about water-related illness and injuries and to create posters illustrating safe swimming.


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