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Keep an eye out for blue-green algae, Sask Water Agency warns

With Summer bringing the swimming and boating season, the Saskatchewan Water Agency, along with the Ministry of Health, is cautioning people to be aware of blue-green algae.

The two organizations say people should avoid direct contact and intended or unintended consumption of any surface water where blue-green algae blooms are occurring. Pet owners and livestock producers need to keep their animals away from such water as well.

The blooms, if consumed or touched, can cause red skin, sore throat, cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If fish or shellfish is caught in areas of a water body where a bloom exists; the internal organs of the fish should not be eaten because it could also make people sick from the algae.

People out on the water should keep an eye out for blue, green, grey or tan blooms, which form in high concentrations, giving water a shimmering, foamy and pea soup like appearance.

Recent warm temperatures have made it so the blooms can form quickly, as they form in shallow water in the summer heat. The blooms can last up to three weeks and can be pushed around the lake or reservoir by the wind.

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If someone is concerned or believes they could have been exposed to blue-green algae, they should contact their health provider or the local Saskatchewan Health Authority environmental health office.

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