With summer in full swing and humid temperatures among us, many Canadians are flocking to lakes across the country in attempts to keep cool. However multiple cities around Canada are urging swimmers to take caution as toxic blue-green algae warnings are in effect throughout the nation. This algae, if in contact with humans and pets, can be extremely harmful.
According to the Weather Network, blue-green algae has become a problem for a majority of Canadian lakes. In fact, the bacteria that causes the algae to bloom can be found in almost every Canadian lake, and many of us don't even notice it until it is fully bloomed.
But why should we have to worry about coming into contact with blue-green algae? It's important to keep an eye out on warnings issued by your city due to the toxic traits that blue-green algae carry. Although it's called an algae, it's actually a bacteria that can cause those who come in contact with it to get sick.
Although it's not common, those who drink or come in contact with water that is contaminated with blue-green algae can experience abdominal pain, cramps, and diarrhea. In more serious cases, humans could even experience numbness and weakness throughout their muscles.
However, it's not just humans that can be affected when they come into contact with this blue-green algae. According to the Weather Network, three dogs died in Canada after being exposed to the bacteria in 2018.
Regional Medical Officer of Health in New Brunswick, Na-Koshie Lamptey told CBC that when swimming in lakes you should rinse off as soon as you get out of the water and avoid going into the water if you have cuts or open wounds.
Lamptey also states that you should limit yourself from drinking the lake water, and supervise young children and pets to also ensure that they are not drinking the water.
Multiple blue-green algae warnings are currently in effect around Canada. Most recently, New Brunswick is urging swimmers to take precaution after issuing a warning to the Saint John River.
Ontario is also experiencing some blue-green algae in their lakes after Hamilton's Public Health services confirmed that it was spotted on the shore of the city's harbor. The city is warning residents to avoid contact with the water at this time.
Alberta is also experiencing blue-green algae and has released warnings for multiple lakes across the province.
The Ontario government warns that blue-green algae is not normally visible in the water, but can be spotted when it blooms in the summer and early fall. It often gives the water a greenish tint and forms solid clumps that can look like pea soup.
If spotted, you are asked to contact your local health unit.