County health officials are encouraging residents who plan to be in and on the water to be alert for blue-green algae blooms on Lake Winnebago.
With hot weather, conditions are ideal for blue-green algae blooms that can produce toxins and make people… and animals sick, said Kim Mueller, Health Officer of Fond du Lac County Health Department.
“Illness can occur after swimming, after ingesting lake water, or when water droplets containing toxins are inhaled,” she said.
People may experience eye, ear, or skin irritation, vomiting and diarrhea. Animals, especially dogs, are at greater risk of dying from exposure to blue green algae because them may ingest large amounts of toxin by drinking directly from lakes, rivers or streams or by licking their fur after leaving the water.
Blue-green algae forms scum or “blooms,” and can look like mats on the surface of fresh water lakes and ponds. This scum often smells like sewage or manure when it piles up along the shore and begins to decompose.
Blue-green algae, more properly known as cyanobacteria, are different from the normal green algae that are common to most lakes.
If people or pets come in contact with water when blue-green algae is present, they should wash thoroughly with clean water, Mueller said.
People who experience symptoms after exposure should contact a health care provider or the Poison Control Center at 1 (800) 222-1222. The Department of Health Services would also like Wisconsin residents to report possible algae related illnesses at dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/bluegreenalgae/ or by calling (608) 267-3242.
• Avoid swimming, wading, skiing, or coming into contact with blue-green algae blooms, and keep children away from algae blooms. Children are more likely to transfer material from their hands to their mouths than adults. Keep pets away from algae contaminated water.
• If persons or their pets come into contact with water when blue-green alga is present, they should wash thoroughly with clean water.
• Contact your health care provider or the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 if you begin to experience any physical symptoms that could suggest cyanotoxin exposure. Contact a veterinarian if your pet(s) become ill.
Photo caption: Algae blooms are bringing warnings from the DNR and local health departments about toxins that can be released into the water.(Photo: Gannett Wisconsin Media photo )
View original article at: Health department warns of blue-green algae on Lake Winnebago