Virginia Department of Health Offers Tips for Recreational Water Use
Prevent Illness and Injury this Summer

News release date: 5/18/15:
For more information contact: Michelle Stoll, Public Information Officer (804) 864-7963 /

(Richmond, VA) The weekend before Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and the beginning of visits to swimming pools, water parks, lakes and local beaches. 
As warm days arrive the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reminds Virginians to take precautions to keep you and your family healthy and safe while enjoying the water this summer.

“Children are especially vulnerable to illness and injury in and around recreational water,” said State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP.
 “In large part, this information is being provided specifically for parents of young children to raise their awareness and assist them in their efforts to keep their children healthy and safe all summer long. ”

Although drowning and swimming-related injuries are often preventable, 
deaths still occur each year and the consequences of injury leave people struggling with memory problems, learning disabilities and permanent loss of basic functioning. 
VDH provides the following recommendations to reduce the risk of drowning and injuries:
              • Teach children to swim. Participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning, especially among children 1 to 4 years of age. 
              •  Never leave a child alone near a body of water and always designate a responsible adult to watch children swimming or playing in or around the water. 
              • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Performing CPR can save a life while paramedics are on their way. 
              • Be sure to wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when boating, regardless of the distance you are traveling, the size of the boat or how well the boaters can swim. 
              • Use the buddy system during all recreational water activities and always be aware of local weather conditions, dangerous waves and rip currents. 

Recreational water use can sometimes cause certain illnesses. 
These illnesses are caused by germs that are spread by swallowing, breathing in mists, or having contact with contaminated water in 
swimming pools, hot tubs, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers or oceans.  The most common illnesses are gastrointestinal and may include symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. 
Other illnesses associated with recreational water can cause eye, skin, ear, respiratory, neurologic and wound infections. 

To prevent illnesses, VDH suggests the following: 
              • Avoid getting water in your mouth, and especially do not swallow it. 
              • Don’t swim when you are ill. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick. 
              • Avoid water shooting up your nose, especially in lakes during the summer where water is shallow or stagnant. 
              • Look for swimming advisory signs before entering the water. Coastal public beaches in Virginia are monitored for bacteria. Signs may indicate that water is unsafe for recreational activity.
              • Avoid swimming in natural waters for a few days after a heavy rain. 
              • Do not swim in natural waters if you have a cut or open wound. 
              • Make sure your children have bathroom breaks and check diapers often. Waiting to hear “I have to go” might be too late. 
              • Wash with soap before and after swimming. You can spread germs in the water and get others sick. 
For more information about recreational water safety, visit 

Virginia Beach Mental Health Coalition Promotes “Celebrate Your Mental Wealth”
Press release from the City of Virginia Beach :

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. is calling upon citizens, government agencies, public and private organizations and schools in Virginia Beach to recommit to increasing awareness and understanding of mental health as part of overall health.


The Virginia Beach Human Services Department, the Community Services Board and the Health Department have joined together with the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Virginia Beach (NAMI-VirginiaBeach), I Need aLighthouse, a depression and suicide education awareness program, Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health and Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center  

to form the Virginia Beach Mental Health Coalition and promote the Green Ribbon for Mental Health Awareness campaign.


This year’s theme is “Celebrate Your Mental Wealth” and focuses on the fact that we all have mental health. Focusing on mental health as part of overall health, 

the coalition encourages talking about, taking preventative measures, and seeking help for symptoms of mental illness as one would do for physical illnesses. 

Taking care of the “wealth” includes connecting with others, getting physically active, eating well and getting professional help if needed.


Coalition members will participate in educational activities throughout the month, culminating in I Need a Lighthouse’s Beacon of Hope 5K on Sunday, May 17, at the 24th Street Park in Virginia Beach. 

Online registration is available through midnight on Thursday, May 14. On-site registration opens at 7:30 a.m. on May 17.


Raising mental health awareness with the facts helps to end the stigma of mental illness. Raising mental health awareness about common warning signs that one has a mental health condition leads to more individuals in need getting help. Raising mental health awareness about suicide prevention could help save a life. Raising mental health awareness about how to help a friend provides hope and lets others know that they are not alone.

In providing opportunities to educate the community, the Mental Health Awareness Coalition hopes everyone will talk about what they learn with family, friends and others.


“It is a time to end the silence and stigma surrounding mental health conditions that too often discourage people from getting help when they need it,” said Kay Ashby, president of NAMI-Virginia Beach.

  • The Virginia Beach Human Services Department/Community Services Board provides behavioral health services for adults, adolescents and children. 
  • For mental health education and support, contact the Office of Consumer and Family Affairs at (757) 385-0800. If experiencing a mental health crisis in Virginia Beach, call (757) 385-0888. 
  • The Virginia Beach Health Department provides health education and wellness services. For more information, call (757) 518-2700. 
  • NAMI Virginia Beach offers mental health advocacy and education. For more information, call (757) 499-2041.
  • Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide a free mental health assessment for children and adolescents ages 4 to 17 who may need acute, inpatient crisis stabilization. The center also provides long-term residential treatment and a partial hospitalization program for adolescents ages 11 to 17. Call (757) 461-4565.
  • Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center is a 100-bed free-standing hospital offering acute psychiatric and substance services for adults age 18 and older. For additional information or to make a referral, call (757) 496-3500.