On the weekend, Alberta Health Services (AHS) issued blue-green algae advisory. Next time you go swimming, you may want to take a better look at the water. Blue-green algae was found in Clear Lake, Alberta and it has the ability to cause vomiting, fever, and swollen lips. Not only that, it can be poisonous to animals, including dogs. Here’s what you need to be aware of. 

According to Alberta Health Services, an advisory has been issued for Clear Lake regarding a blue-green algae bloom. Known as cyanobacteria, this bloom can be harmful to humans!

Blooms like this are found in rivers, lakes, and wetlands. It is naturally occurring and often becomes visible when weather conditions are calm. 

While it may seem harmless, it can actually cause quite an intense sickness. 

According to Alberta Health Services, this blue-green algae appears like scum on top of the water. It can also be mistaken for grass clippings, fuzz, or “globs on the surface of water”.

Blue-green algae comes in a wide variety of colours including blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red. It will often smell musty or grassy. 

People who come into contact with visible algae blooms or ingest the water may experience a number of symptoms including skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea.

These symptoms will usually appear within one to three hours and resolve itself within one to two days. 

Visitors of lakes and wetlands are asked to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any recreational body of water. Under this advisory, this includes the Twin Valley Reservoir. 

The advisory states that boiling the water will not remove the toxins produced by blue-green algae. During this time, an alternative source of drinking water should be provided for pets and livestock. 

Weather and wind conditions have the ability to move the algae blooms from one location to another. As a result, the advisory will remain in effect for Twin Valley Reservoir until further notice. 

In order to keep yourself safe, Alberta Health Services have released a number of precautions including avoiding all contact with the algae. They have also advised the public to not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from this late to your pets. 

Humans should also consider limiting consumption of whole fish from Clear Lake as fish store toxins in their livers. That being said, the advisory does state that people can safely consume fish fillets from the lake.

Should you happen to come in contact with the algae, the best thing to do is wash with tap water as soon as possible. 

Earlier this summer, the Vancouver harbour turned red from an algae bloom! While it was not toxic to humans, it did leave the water looking like something straight out of The Shining. 

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