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NEWS Improving and Protecting the Health, Well-Being
and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.

August 6, 2014


Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

DPHHS: Poster contest made public health awareness fun for kids

Kaidee Maloughney of Ramsay, Montana was the grand prize winner of this year’s recreational water illness and injury prevention campaign sponsored by the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS).

To increase awareness of illnesses and injuries related to recreational water use, DPHHS asked elementary school children to learn more about the issue and share how to prevent water-related illness and injuries.

Over 250 students in grades K-5 from eight Montana schools submitted posters that illustrated the students’ knowledge of safe swimming. Maloughney, who will be a fourth grader this fall, was awarded an iPod mini as the grand prize. All participants received a small prize that was delivered to their schools directly.  

Other winning posters can be viewed by clicking on the water safety link at: www.dphhs.mt.gov.

“We know that Montanans are excited for summer, but water-related illness and injury can sure put a damper on that fun,” said DPHHS Director Richard Opper. “Montana has endless lakes, rivers and public swimming pools to enjoy, but Montanans just need to remember a few steps to play it 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 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.”

Page last updated 07/02/2014