Heavy rains and flooding this summer have helped to increase the number of Blue-Green Algae blooms across the state.
The Department of Health Services is urging swimmers to watch out for the algae blooms, which are expected to have a strong presence on lakes and rivers due to warm weather and run-off from flooding. Department of Health Services Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Health Director Chuck Warzecha says swimmers should stay out of water where Blue-Green Algae is present. Typical signs of its presence are green, dirty water, along with a strong musty smell or dying vegetation. Adults are urged to especially watch out for children and pets, who may not be as easily repulsed by the smell of the algae blooms.
On the severe end, swallowing blue-green algae contaminated water can cause liver problems and even death. Warzecha says the more common side effects are just general discomfort, including skin or eye irritations.
Even if you don't suspect its presence, Warzecha says you should still wash yourself thoroughly after swimming in a lake or river.