The Mississippi State Department of Health wants to remind all Mississippians that most water-related accidents can be avoided by knowing how to stay safe and by following a few guidelines.
General water safety tips
- Never swim alone or in unsupervised places and always swim with a buddy.
- An adult should constantly watch any children swimming or playing in or around the water. Do not read, play cards, text or talk on the phone, mow the lawn or engage in other distracting activity while supervising children.
- Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating or water skiing. Avoid drinking alcohol while supervising children around water.
- Learn to swim. Enroll yourself and your children in swimming classes.
- Learn CPR. CPR skills can make a difference in a drowning victim's life due to the time it may take for emergency personnel to arrive.
- Do not use air-filled or foam toys in place of life jackets. These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe. They include "water wings," "swimmies," inner tubes and "noodles."
Swimming pool safety
- Install a fence. The fence should be four-sided and at least four feet high and should completely separate the house and play area of the yard. Gate latches should be out of a child's reach.
- Remove toys from the pool immediately after use. Floats, balls and other toys may encourage children to enter the pool on their own to retrieve them.
Natural water safety
- Know local weather conditions and forecasts before swimming or boating. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangers to swimmers and boaters.
- Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when boating, regardless of the distance to be traveled, the size of the boat or the swimming ability of the boaters.
- Heed colored beach warning flags. Read and obey all signage at public beaches.
- Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents. Examples include water that is discolored and unusually choppy, foamy or filled with debris. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore. Once out of the current, swim toward shore.
- Vibrio infection: Vibrio bacteria grow well in warm salt water and can cause serious infections to swimmers with cuts or open wounds. Read more »
- Check Mississippi Beach Closures for potentially hazardous conditions like algal bloom.
Many of Mississippi's beaches are now carrying water contact warnings because of toxic blooms of harmful blue-green algae. The Mississippi State Department of Health is monitoring this situation. To limit the possibility of illness related to Harmful Algal Bloom, we recommend:
- Avoid direct contact with water containing the algal bloom.
- Do not get in the water or ingest it.
- Do not eat fish from areas where algal bloom is identified.
See latest recommendations on fish consumption from the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources »
- If you become ill after contact with the algae, immediately consult a physician.
For the latest information, see the website of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). Questions regarding the safety of fish consumption should be directed the MDEQ and the State Department of Marine Resources.
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