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Blue-green Algae Poses Threat To Human And Pet Health

Wisconsin DNR

Conditions are right for the return of blue-green algae to water bodies across the state and a DNR expert has a few tips to keep you and especially your pets safe from harm. There's also  a webinar next week for you to learn more.

The DNR's blue-green algae coordinator Gina LaLiberte says says blue-green algae are in all lakes and rivers in Wisconsin, but they only become a problem when they grow to high concentrations, called blooms. The bacteria are photosynthetic and tend to multiply rapidly in warm and wet conditions.

Nutrients in the water also contribute to the growth.

The blooms can make people sick or uncomfortable...

"...Some of the species can make toxins that make you sick. You can accidentally ingest them by swallowing water. If you waterski or tube through an area that has heavy accumulation of blue-green algae at the surface you can get sick by inhaling the algae in water droplets. Some people also have skin reactions to them...."

LaLiberte says it's still a good idea to choose the clearest water possible for small children and dogs, She says if you're standing in water and you can't see your feet, keep children and dogs out of the water. She says it's always a good idea to wash off after swimming in any body of water.

A webinar is set for next Monday(7/16/2018) at noon. Participants can log on to learn more about blue-green algae and its health effects, how to differentiate blue-green algae from other algae, and ways to stay safe this summer when spending time on the water. People may participate through the DNR media website. A link is here.

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