The Do’s and Don’ts of Harmful Algal Blooms
You may see algal blooms on our lakes this summer and they may be different colors such as blue, green, white, red or brown. They may look like pea soup or thick paint, foam or scum floating on the water and might have a foul odor. They can also accumulate along the shoreline.
Cyanobacteria (Blue green algae) can cause blooms in lakes if the conditions are just right. Some types can produce toxins and can harm the liver or nervous system in humans and animals if ingested. They can also cause eye irritation, rash, vomiting, diarrhea or cold and flu-like symptoms.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recommends these actions:
Don’t swim, water ski, or boat in areas where the water is discolored or where you see foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water.
Don’t let pets or livestock swim in or drink from these areas.
Don’t let pets lick the algae from their fur.
Do rinse yourself and your pet off immediately if there is contact with algae infected waters.
Do look for beach postings and water quality notices before swimming.
Do get medical treatment right away if you think you, your pet, or livestock might have been poisoned by algal toxins.
The public is encouraged to report algae related diseases by calling 608-266-1120 or online at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/bluegreenalgae/
For more information on harmful algal blooms, go to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services or Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources websites or call the Forest County Health Department at 715-478-3371.
Photos of Harmful Blue-green Algal Blooms: