NCDHHS Encourages Recreational Water Safety this Summer

Photo Courtesy Cherokee One Feather


RALEIGH — As temperatures remain high, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging residents to enjoy recreational waters safely and be aware of possible health risks, including harmful algal blooms. Certain infections are also more common during summer such as primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), vibriosis and cryptosporidiosis.


“Our goal is to help North Carolinians lower their health risks while still having a great time in the water,” said Dr. Kelly Kimple, Acting Director, NCDHHS Division of Public Health. “By following certain guidelines, we can minimize illness associated with harmful algae, bacteria and other risks, ensuring a healthier experience for all.”


To help ensure a safe and enjoyable summer for you and your pets, NCDHHS recommends the following guidelines for recreational waters:

  1. Recognize Harmful Algal Blooms:

    Algal blooms can produce toxins harmful to humans and pets. They often appear as thick, green, blue-green or red scums on the water’s surface or along the shoreline. Avoid contact with water and keep your pets away from these areas. To report an algal bloom, contact the nearest DEQ regional office or submit a report online.

  2. Avoid Suspicious Water Conditions:
  3. Be cautious if the water appears discolored, has a strong odor or contains visible debris. Such conditions may indicate poor water quality or possible bacterial contamination.
  4. Stay Updated on Water Quality Advisories:
  5. Stay informed about water quality advisories or warnings issued by local authorities for recreational waters. These advisories may include alerts about harmful algal blooms or bacterial contamination.
  6. Prevent Ingestion:
  7. Avoid swallowing water. Reduce your risk of illness by keeping your mouth closed and holding your nose shut or using a nose clip while swimming, particularly while jumping or diving into warm freshwater lakes, rivers and hot springs. Carry fresh water for your pets to drink and keep them hydrated throughout your water activities to discourage them from drinking or swallowing water while swimming.
  8. Rinse Off After Water Activities:
  9. After swimming, rinse yourself and your pets with clean, fresh water to remove any potential bacteria, algae or toxins that may cling to the skin or fur. This simple step can minimize health risks associated with waterborne contaminants.
  10.  If you have an open wound, stay out of saltwater or brackish water: Cover your wound with a waterproof bandage if it could come into contact with coastal waters or raw seafood, its drippings or its juices. Immediately wash wounds after contact with these items.
  11. Monitor for Symptoms:
  12. Be alert for any symptoms you or your pets experience after water activities, such as skin irritations, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory problems or unusual behavior. If you or your pets exhibit any concerning symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.


For more information and additional resources on water safety, visit   More summer safety tips are also available on the NCDHHS Division of Public Health website at and

Search Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority