MONTGOMERY, AL - The Alabama Department of Public Health has expanded advisories due to the increased presence of oil in coastal areas. Public Health is posting advisories not to swim in Bayou St. John, Terry Cove, Cotton Bayou, Old River or in Alabama waters west of the Dauphin Island Bridge, also known as Mississippi Sound.
The Alabama Department of Public Health previously had advised individuals not to swim in Alabama gulf waters or in bay waters immediately adjacent to Fort Morgan.
Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer, said, "These are precautionary measures to protect the public's health. We will continue to monitor the situation and reassess the need for further advisories should the situation change."
Signs will be posted at access points to the affected bodies of water. Residents should take the following additional precautions.
· Avoid direct skin contact with the oil.
· If you get oil or tar balls on your skin, wash with soap and water.
· Launder clothing as usual if you get oil on it.
· There is no need to use harsh detergents, solvents or other chemicals to wash oil from
skin or clothing, and it is discouraged.
· If a fish smells or tastes like oil, do not eat it.
· Wash hands before eating.
Some people also may be sensitive to any change in air quality, which could cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or headaches.
If you have these symptoms, authorities recommend you consider staying indoors, ventilating your home with air conditioning, and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity.
If these symptoms do not improve, you should then consider contacting your primary care physician or other health care provider for medical advice.
If you have pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory illness, you should consider communicating with your physician if you feel symptomatic.
Updated information will be available at www.adph.org.
Source: Alabama Department of Health