Algae alert in Minnesota lakes: How to keep your family safe!

Lisa Barry

Weekdays on 98.5 KTIS



As wonderful as warmer temps are, they bring to area lakes a scum that can be much more than just an annoyance, it can be deadly.  The MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) wants all of us to be vigilant about staying away from lakes that have algae floating around, or look like pea soup.  Here are some of the things to watch out for, not only for humans, but pets as well:

1.  Blue-green algae thrives particularly in warm, shallow, nutrient-rich lakes.

2. It is often blown into shorelines, where humans and animals most come in contact with blue-green algae.

3. Harmful blooms are sometimes said to look like pea soup, green paint, or floating mats of scum, and they often have a bad odor.

4. If it looks bad and smells bad, don’t take a chance. Stay out and keep children and pets away from the water until the bloom subsides.

5. An animal that has ingested toxins from an algal bloom can show a variety of symptoms, ranging from skin irritation, vomiting, severe disorders involving the circulatory, nervous and digestive systems, and severe skin lesions. In worst cases, the animal may suffer convulsions and die.

Humans are rarely affected, probably because the unpleasant odor and appearance of a blue-green algal bloom tend to keep people out of the water. Still, warnings of human exposure include irritation of skin, eyes and nasal passages, and nausea and vomiting. Extreme cases can produce paralysis and respiratory failure.

Once a bloom occurs, the only option available is to wait for weather changes, such as significant rainfall, wind shifts or cooler temperatures, to disrupt the algae’s growth.    Excerpts from KARE11 Article.  Click here to view the entire article.


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