Blue-green algae has returned to Pine Lake.
Alberta Health Services issued a blue-green algae advisory for the lake after an algae bloom was spotted Wednesday morning.
Over the years, Pine Lake has seen a number of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) advisories, which usually remain in effect until cooler weather in the fall. Last summer, an advisory was issued in August.
Appearing like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water, blue-green algae can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red, and often smell musty or grassy.
Pine Lake residents and visitors should take the following precautions: Avoid all contact with blue-green algae blooms. If contact occurs, wash with tap water as soon as possible.
People should not swim or wade, or allow pets to swim or wade, in any areas where blue-green algae is visible.
Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from the lake to pets.
Consider limiting human consumption of whole fish and fish trimmings from the lake as fish may store toxins in their liver. But people can safely consume fish fillets from this lake.
Those who come in contact with visible blue-green algae, or who ingest water containing blue-green algae, may experience skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea, or difficulty breathing.
Dr. Ifeoma Achebe, medical officer of health with AHS Central Zone, said the algae is very toxic, and the reaction can be serious.
“It’s just like any other allergic reaction. The reaction will vary from person-to-person,” Achebe said.
Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days. Symptoms in children are often more pronounced, but everyone is at risk.
Weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location in the lake to another.
Areas of the lake where blue-green algae bloom is not visible can still be used for recreational purposes even while the advisory is in place.
The advisory will remain in effect for Pine Lake until further notice.
Anyone who suspects a problem related to blue-green algae, or requires further information on health concerns and blue-green algae, can call Health Link at 811. Additional information is also available online, at www.ahs.ca/bga.