Ala. Health Dept. issues new swimming advisories

MONTGOMERY, AL - The Alabama Department of Public Health continues taking steps to protect the public's health as a result of developments concerning the Gulf oil spill.

Oil has been projected to impact Dauphin Island and in Alabama waters west of the Dauphin Island Bridge, also known as Mississippi Sound, on Friday and Saturday.

In response, the Alabama Department of Public Health is issuing a swimming advisory for beaches in these areas effective 6 p.m. Thursday.

Because of the expected presence of visible oil in Gulf waters adjacent to Dauphin Island, individuals are discouraged from swimming in these waters. The Alabama Department of Public Health will be posting signs advising residents not to swim.  

Trajectories continue to predict impact on the Baldwin County beaches over the next 72 hours, so no advisories will be lifted.

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 if the situation changes."

Residents should take the following additional precautions.

Protective Measures

·        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.

Food Advisories

·        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