LCHD: Be on the lookout for blue-green algae
Courtesy of the Lincoln County Health Department
LINCOLN COUNTY – During the warm months of June-September, we may see our lakes and rivers looking more like pea soup or having discolored water. This could be from blue-green algae. Lincoln County Health Department (LCHD) wants to remind everyone to watch for blue-green algal blooms.
“Every year we get reports of algal blooms in Lincoln County,” said Kristin Bath, Public Health Educator for LCHD. “We want to make sure everyone is aware and taking safety measures to keep themselves and their pets safe.”
People may be exposed to blue-green algae through contact with the skin, breathing or by swallowing water. When conditions are right, blue-green algae can grow very quickly in number, producing a scum layer or mat on the top of the water.
Contact with algae blooms may cause the following signs: sore throat, runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing, itchy eyes, itchy skin, red skin, hives, earache, headache, stomach pain, and vomiting.
Since it is very hard to tell whether algae blooms are dangerous without lab investigation, the safest thing to do is to treat every algae bloom as if it could be dangerous. Following these simple “Do’s and Don’ts” can help make sure you, your family, and pets stay well.
- Rinse yourself and your pet immediately if there is contact with algae water.
- Look for beach posting and water quality notices before swimming.
- Get medical treatment right away, if you think you, your pet, or your livestock might have been poisoned by algal toxins.
- Swim, water ski or boat in areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae.
- Let pets or livestock swim or drink from areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae.
- Let pets lick algae off.
Animals can also become sick from blue-green algae blooms. To protect your animals, keep them out of green water or where you see foam or mats of algae. If your animal has been exposed, rinse them immediately.
If your pet displays symptoms such as seizures, vomiting, or diarrhea after contact with water, contact your veterinarian right away.