Public health provides tips to stay safe in water this summer

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Clark County Public Health is reminding people to take caution in and around the water as the likely reopening of public pools nears and people return to outdoor recreation this summer.

“Warm weather may be on the horizon, but area lakes and rivers are still cold, and water may be moving quickly,” stated a news release.

People are encouraged to know water conditions because cold water in lakes and rivers can lead to shock and immobilize swimmers. Rivers are also high and swift from rain and snow melt and could carry debris. Swimmers are encouraged to avoid fast-flowing waters, which includes rivers and ocean beaches with riptides.

People are also urged to never swim alone and to know their limits, since drowning often occurs when a swimmer is tired.

Public health encourages people to follow these tips for safe swimming and recreating in water:

• Avoid distractions when kids are swimming or around water.

• Teach children to swim.

• Wear a life jacket when boating, using a personal watercraft or an inner tube, or while using other water sports equipment.

• Alcohol and marijuana should be avoided when swimming or boating.

• People should not dive into shallow water or jump off of bridges or cliffs.

• People are also encouraged to only swim in designated areas.

Public health is also advising people to be aware of current advisories at local water bodies impacted by cyanobacteria, or harmful blue-green algal blooms.

The blooms can produce toxins that are harmful to both animals and people.

To avoid exposure to blue-green algal blooms, people should not drink, wade or swim in water that looks discolored or where algae may be present.

People should look for posted advisory signs, check for visual signs of a bloom, shower after water contact or wash their pets with clean water.

Animals should not be allowed to eat scum or algae.

The health department encourages people to stay out of the water if they are in doubt, stated the release.

Current advisories of blue-green algae at local water bodies can be found online  clark.wa.gov/public-health/pub lic-beaches.

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