September 30th, 2020

Blue-green algae health advisory issued for Ridge Reservoir

By Jensen, Randy on September 16, 2020.

Lethbridge Herald -warner county

A blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) health advisory has been issued for the Milk River Ridge Reservoir.

Residents living near the shores of the reservoir and visitors are being advised by Alberta Health Services to take precautions to protect their health and keep their loved ones safe.

In order to do this, AHS advises those accessing the reservoir avoid all contact with the blue-green algae blooms, and if contact occurs wash with clean tap water as soon as possible. People should also not swim or wade in the reservoir or allow their pets to swim in the reservoir. People should consider limiting their consumption of whole fish or trimmings from their reservoir and not feed any to their pets. Fillets can still be safely consumed from this reservoir, according to AHS.

AHS advises drinking or cooking in reservoir water is dangerous to human health, and that boiling cannot remove the toxins from the blue-green algae.

Blue-green algae is naturally occurring, and often becomes visible when weather conditions are calm. Appearing like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water, blue-green algae can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red, and often smell musty or grassy.

People who come in contact with visible blue-green algae or who ingest water containing blue-green algae may experience skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days. Symptoms in children are often more pronounced; however, all humans are at risk of these symptoms.

Exposure to the blue-green algae may be fatal to pets.

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