Health advisory issued for Pigeon Lake, including beaches

A major health advisory for Pigeon Lake has been issued by Alberta Health Services.

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A major health advisory for Pigeon Lake has been issued by Alberta Health Services.

A previous blue-green algae advisory was extended to cover all of Pigeon Lake, including all beaches on Thursday.

Pigeon Lake is 126 km northwest of Red Deer.

Residents living near the shores of the lake, as well as visitors to the lake area, are advised to take the following precautions:

• Do not drink water from or allow pets to drink water from the lake. Boiling contaminated water does not remove toxins from the water. Provide an alternative source of drinking water for pets and livestock.

• Do not swim or wade or allow pets to swim or wade in this lake.

• Do not consume any fish from this lake.

• Avoid contact with blue-green algae along the shoreline.

Similar blue-green algae advisories remain in place at Wizard Lake and Baptiste Lake.

Most blue-green algae blooms are short-lived, however due to temperature changes and the long-term weather forecast, these health advisories remain in effect until further notice.

During extended periods of calm and sunny days, blooms can accumulate at the surface in any location. Wind and waves may cause them to form along shorelines and shifts in wind direction can move a bloom from one location to another.

Blue-green algae produces a toxin that can cause serious illness to animals or humans who drink or have skin contact with water containing it.

People who come in contact with or ingest water containing toxic blue-green algae may experience skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days.

People who use contaminated water as a primary source for drinking water may develop more serious illnesses such as liver damage over time. Symptoms in children are often more pronounced because they spend more time in the water and are more likely to accidentally ingest contaminated shore water.

Anyone suspecting a problem related to the algae bloom or requiring further information on blue-green algae is asked to call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).