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Blue-green algae advisory issued for Laurier Lake

Alberta Health Services has identified Laurier Lake, located about 30 km from Elk Point, as containing blue-green algae bloom. The provincial health authority has issued a cyanobacteria advisory for the lake along noting several precautions recreational users should take.
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Alberta Health Services (AHS) released a blue-green algae bloom advisory for the lake on July 4. 

ELK POINT – A blue-green algae bloom, also known as cyanobacteria, has been identified in areas of Laurier Lake, located roughly 30 km from Elk Point.  

Alberta Health Services (AHS) released a blue-green algae bloom advisory for the lake on July 4. 

Residents living near the shores of the lake, as well as visitors to Laurier Lake, are advised to take precautions when entering the water. 

AHS encourages water users to avoid all contact with blue-green algae blooms. 

If contact should occur, it is important to wash with tap water as soon as possible. 

Lake users are asked not swim or wade, or allow their pets to swim or wade, in any areas where blue-green algae is visible.    

“Blue-green algae is naturally occurring, and often becomes visible when weather conditions are calm,” states the provincial health authority. 

“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.” 

Common symptoms for 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, according to AHS. 

Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days.  

Children who have come in contact with cyanobacteria generally experience symptoms that are more pronounced than those experienced by adults. However, all humans are at risk of these symptoms. 

While weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location in the lake to another, AHS indicates when cyanobacteria is not visible on the lake it can still be used for recreational purposes – even while the blue-green algae Health Advisory is in place. 

Furthermore, AHS states that whole fish or fish trimmings from this lake should not be fed to pets. 

The health authority also asks lake users to “consider limiting human consumption of whole fish and fish trimmings from this lake, as it is known that fish may store toxins in their liver.” 

People can safely consume fish fillets from this lake, notes AHS. 

“As always, visitors and residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any recreational body of water, including Laurier Lake, at any time,” continues the AHS statement.  

“Boiling of this water will not remove the toxins produced by blue-green algae. An alternate source of drinking water should also be provided for pets and livestock, while this advisory is active.” 

Anyone who suspects a problem related to blue-green algae or requires further information is encouraged to call Health Link at 811.  

Additional information is also available online, at www.ahs.ca/bga