Algae still present in lakes

Health warnings due to blue-green algae are still in place for Pine and Pigeon lakes.

Health warnings due to blue-green algae are still in place for Pine and Pigeon lakes.

Alberta Health Services issued an advisory for Pigeon Lake on July 27 and for Pine Lake on Aug. 21.

“They certainly are both under blue-green algae advisories, which means we’re recommending people not go into the lake or consume the water or allow their pets to consume the water,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, one of the medical officer of health with AHS Central Zone, on Friday.

The health advisory remains in effect until further notice.

Blue-green algae produce a toxin that can cause serious illness to animals or humans who drink or have skin contact with water containing this toxin. Boiling water does not eliminate the toxins.

Consuming or coming into contact with contaminated water can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, sore throat, swollen eyes and swollen lips.

Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and go away in one to two days. Symptoms in children are often more pronounced because they spend more time in the water and are more likely to accidentally ingest contaminated water.

People who consume contaminated water as a primary source for drinking water can develop more serious illnesses, such as liver damage, over time.

Hinshaw said the development of blue-green algae depends on many factors.

“Weather is a key factor. When we have long spells of quite warm weather that predisposes the lake to having blooms if there are other components present like nutrients in the lake.”

Nutrients come from agricultural activities around the lake like fertilizer and animal waste, or human activity like cottages where some human waste is getting into the lake, she said.

For further information on blue-green algae call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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