Michigan residents cautioned about algal blooms in lakes

Posted at 8:25 PM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 20:25:25-04

The Oakland County Health Division is reminding residents that they should be cautious of algal blooms in lakes.

Residents are urged to avoid direct contact with water that appears scummy, looks like spilled paint or has a green sheen to it. The scum may contain flecks, foam or clumps.

“If you see algae, avoid direct contact with it and keep pets away as well,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County, in a news release. “Although algae are a natural presence in waterways, special precautions need to be followed to prevent illness.”

Dense populations of algae are called a bloom. Some blooms are harmless, but some contain toxins that can produce conditions harmful to humans, pets and aquatic life.

People and pets can experience the following symptoms after contact with an algal bloom:

  • Skin contact may cause:
  • Rashes, hives, or skin blisters (especially on the lips and under swimsuits).
  • Breathing aerosolized (suspended water droplets) lake water mist from recreational activities and/or lawn watering can cause:
  • Runny eyes and noses
  • Sore throat
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Allergic reactions
  • Swallowing contaminated water can cause:
  • Severe diarrhea/vomiting and abdominal pain
  • Abnormal liver function
  • Kidney toxicity
  • Weakness, salivation, tingly fingers, numbness, dizziness, difficulties breathing, or death

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