Summer is almost here, which means the return of long hours of daylight, warm weather, and the occasional trip to your favorite swimming spot. However, before getting in and out of the water, local authorities want you to heed this warning to protect yourself. Read on for the surprising sign that you shouldn’t swim in your local lake this summer.
Officials want people to avoid bodies of water with certain types of algae.
While algae is prevalent in many lakes and rivers, authorities are warning against swimming in rivers that have algae blooms this summer.
In May, the Brazos River Authority in Texas issued a warning to residents about potentially dangerous algae in Lake Granbury in north Texas, CBS DFW first reported. According to officials from the Brazos River Authority, there is an algae bloom in the lake that could prove harmful to those who swim in it, as it may contain cyanobacteria, which are toxic to animals and humans.
It’s impossible to tell if an algal bloom is harmful by sight alone.
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, it is not possible to determine whether or not an algal bloom is a toxic “blue-green algae” by its appearance alone. Either way, “blue-green algae” is actually a misnomer, because what appears to be algae is actually a type of cyanobacteria.
While the Brazos River Authority notes that there are over 2,600 types of blue-green algae, the vast majority of which are not poisonous, a few varieties can make animals and humans extremely sick.
While you can’t tell what type of blue-green algae you see just by looking at it; if you see a large number of dead fish near a lake; it may be a sign that the algae bloom is toxic. explains the Brazos River Authority. “Experts advise that if you see water with a ‘pea soup’ color and consistency, avoid it,” the authority said.
Exposure to cyanobacteria can have serious health effects.
Animals – dogs in particular – are more susceptible to the effects of harmful cyanobacterial algae (cHAB) blooms than humans; largely due to their willingness to swim in water visibly affected by algal blooms or having a smell that would be human; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
However, humans can – and often do – become ill from contact with cHABs. Ingestion, inhalation, skin contact; and eye exposure are all potential ways of being exposed to cHAB and can cause side effects including nausea; vomiting, joint pain, muscle weakness, blisters in the mouth, swollen lips, conjunctivitis, pneumonia and liver failure.
There is no antidote for cyanobacteria.
Unfortunately, there is “no cure for the effects” of cHAB at this time, according to the CDC.
However, if you come into contact with algae blooms that may contain cyanobacteria, there are several ways to lessen their harmful effects on your health.
In addition to avoiding contact with any water source that appears to contain an algal bloom; the CDC recommends rinsing immediately with fresh water if you suspect you have come into contact with water containing cyanobacteria and bacteria. ” call a doctor or poison control if you think you have swallowed water which may be contaminated with cHAB.
Related Article: How To Start A Financial Fast