The Minnesota Department of Health announced that people must avoid blue-green algae in ponds, streams, and lakes because it killed many dogs and can cause illness to humans as well.
Last year many dogs died, and two people got sick after exposure to the algae. Even if they are often seen during summer, they might have already started to grow due to this year’s warm spring. It is good that people usually avoid blue-green algae due to its terrible smell.
People might get infected if they bathe, water ski, boat or swim in water that contains this toxic algae. It is enough to have a skin contact or worse, to swallow it. Plus, you might become ill by breathing in tiny droplets of water in the air. The symptoms in most people are a sore throat, cough, headache, eye irritation, rash, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Dogs are more vulnerable than humans because they swallow large quantities of water while swimming. Plus, they swim very slowly if the water is full of algae. In addition to this, when they get out of the water, they ingest more algae while grooming themselves. The symptoms of the illness are seizures, liver failure, general weakness, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and death.
When someone sees blue-green algae, it is impossible to determine whether it is toxic or not. These toxic blooms look like floating mats of scum, green paint or pea soup. Plus, they sometimes smell bad. However, they are not always easy to spot as they can also be present in waters with hardly visible algae.
Experts advise people always to check the lake to detect if there are algae on the shore or in the water before going into it. According to MPCA Water Quality Monitoring Supervisor, Pam Anderson, people should stay out of any water that smells or looks bad. If you are not sure, then you should not take any chances.
However, if you or your pets come into contact with the algae, immediately wash off and rinse off with fresh water, especially paying attention to the areas the swimsuit covers. Scientists haven’t found a way to fix the blooms. The only solution is to wait for a weather change that will stop the algae’s growth.
Plus, the only long term solution against the blue-green algae is to improve water quality by reducing phosphorus in lakes.
Image Source:Life With Dogs