Those looking to take a dip in Alix Lake are warned to keep clear of blue-green algae.
People who come in contact with visible blue-green algae or who ingest water containing the algae may experience skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea, says Alberta Health Services in a Health Advisory issued on Friday afternoon. Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days.
Symptoms in children are often more pronounced but all are at risk.
AHS offers some tips:
• Avoid all contact with blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) blooms. If contact occurs, wash with tap water as soon as possible.
• Do not swim or wade (or allow your pets to swim or wade) in any areas where blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) is visible.
• Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from this lake to your pets.
• Consider limiting human consumption of whole fish and fish trimmings from this lake, as it is known that fish may store toxins in their liver. (People can safely consume fish fillets from this lake).
Health authorities said people can still go in the water in areas where the algae is not present, even while the advisory is in place.
Blue-green algae is naturally occurring, and often becomes visible when conditions are calm. It looks like like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water. Despite its name, it can also be greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red, and often smell musty or grassy.
Weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location in the lake to another. The advisory will remain in effect for Alix Lake, until further notice.
“Visitors and residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any recreational body of water, including Alix Lake, at any time,” says AHS.
“Boiling of this water will not remove the toxins produced by blue-green algae. An alternate source of drinking water should also be provided for pets and livestock, while this advisory is active.”
For more information or to discuss health concerns call Health Link at 811. Additional information is also available online, at www.ahs.ca/bga.