A blue-green algae alert has been issued for Alix Lake, northeast of Red Deer.
Alberta Health Services is warning residents to take precautions including avoiding all contact with blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) blooms.
Blue-green algae appears like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water. It is naturally occurring and can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red, and often smell musty or grassy. It typically appears when weather conditions are calm.
People 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 and vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days. Symptoms in children are often more pronounced.
If contact occurs, wash with tap water as soon as possible.
Residents are advised to take the following precautions:
l Avoid all contact with blue-green algae blooms.
l Do not swim or wade (or allow your pets to swim or wade) in any areas where blue-green algae is visible.
l Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from this lake to your pets.
l 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 reservoir).
Residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any lake, including Alix Lake, at any time. Boiling lake 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 the advisory is active.
Weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location in the lake to another. The advisory is in effect for Alix Lake until further notice.
Other areas of Alix Lake where the blue-green algae bloom is not visible can still be used for recreational purposes.
If you suspect a problem related to blue-green algae, or for information on health concerns and blue-green algae, please call Health Link at 811 or visit www.ahs.ca/bga.