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This Blue-Green Bacteria Found In BC Lakes Can Cause Swollen Lips, Vomiting, Fevers, & Other Scary Symptoms

In case you needed another excuse to avoid the water, we’re here to help. According to officials, a blue-green algae bloom found in BC actually can cause several intense symptoms. If you happen to come into contact with or ingest this algae, you could experience swollen lips, fever, and vomiting. 

According to Northern Health, a blue-green algae bloom known as cyanobacteria can appear in many lakes across BC. While it may look like naturally-occurring scum, it is actually harmful. If you plan on bringing your floaties out and drinking rosé all day on the water, be sure to check your surroundings first. 

According to Northern Health, these algae blooms can look like grass clippings, fuzz, or just general globs of scum on the surface of the water. They can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, or pinkish-red in colour, and often smell musty or grassy.

People who come into contact with the bloom, or who ingest the water, may experience a number of symptoms. These can include swollen lips, rash, sore throat, skin irritation, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or sore, red eyes. 

According to Northern Health, symptoms will usually appear within one to three hours and resolve within one to two days. Children will often have more pronounced symptoms. 

Anyone who has come into contact with the algae should wash the affected area with tap water as soon as possible. Weather and wind conditions have the ability to move the blooms across several locations, so be mindful. 

Throughout the week, Vancouver has also experienced an algae boom, though different to this one. Called “red tide”, this bloom has the ability to change the water completely red. Unlike the blue-green bloom, the red tide is not toxic to humans.

Recently, a number of photos have surfaced online showing the Vancouver harbour completely covered with red water, and it's pretty intense. 

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