The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Central District Health Department and Southwest District Health Department are issuing health advisories at Lake Cascade in Valley County and Lake Lowell in Canyon County after recent samples indicate concentrations of the toxic blue-green algae which has shut down numerous waterways.
The following is from a release by CDHD:
CDHD and DEQ advise the following precautions be taken where harmful algal blooms are known to be present:
- Humans and animals should stay out of the affected water. Swimming, wading, or other activities with full body contact of pond water should be avoided.
- Humans, pets, and livestock should not drink the affected water.
- Fish should be cleaned and rinsed with clean water. Only the fillet portion should be consumed. All other parts should be discarded.
- Pets and livestock are vulnerable to cyanobacteria and their toxins and should stay out of water where blooms are visible. Pets and livestock can be exposed to cyanobacteria and their toxins through drinking, swimming, or self-grooming by licking their wet coat or paws. A reaction will likely require immediate veterinary attention.
- Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
- If affected water contacts skin or pet fur, wash with clean with potable water as soon as possible.
- Areas of visible algae accumulation should be avoided.
Samples taken indicate unsafe bacteria cell counts, so everyone should heed these precautions and avoid contact with the water.
Symptoms of Exposure
People who are exposed to water with high concentrations of cyanobacteria or cyanotoxins may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, allergic responses, liver damage, or neurotoxic reactions such as tingling fingers and toes. Anyone with symptoms should seek medical attention. Boiling or filtering the water will not remove cyanotoxins.
More Information on HABs
For more information about harmful algal blooms, including a map of advisories currently in effect throughout Idaho, visit DEQ’s website HERE.