Algae are tiny, harmless organisms that live naturally in water. A harmful algae bloom (HAB) is actually made of cyanobacteria, sometimes called blue-green algae. Some cyanobacteria species create toxins that can make people and pets sick.
Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria)
Blue-green algae poisoning is most common in pets. Symptoms, including death, can be more severe in pets because they tend to drink the water from affected lakes and reservoirs. Children and adults can experience serious injury to the liver, kidney, and nervous system if affected water is swallowed. Medical treatment should be sought immediately if a person or pet is suspected to have blue-green algae poisoning.
Common recreational water purification techniques, including camping filters, tablets, and boiling, do not remove toxins from affected water.
When In Doubt Stay Out
Know the signs of an algae bloom. Don’t go in water that is foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green or brownish red.