Health officials in Adams, Juneau and Sauk counties want residents to enjoy the beaches and swimming areas safely by avoiding toxic algae blooms.
South Central Environmental Health Consortium Manager James Beix said swimming in or swallowing water with high levels of blue-green algae presents risks to individuals.
Algae blooms take on many different appearances and colors. They can look like pea soup or paint on the surface of the water. Although the color is usually opaque green to blue-green, the algae blooms can range blue to red.
The toxins that the algae produce can affect people’s health in different ways. They can cause people to have respiratory symptoms such as coughing, congestion, sore throat, and difficulty breathing. Others may experience eye irritation, itchy and red skin, and even hives. In more serious cases it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and severe abdominal pain. It is good practice to rinse off after playing or swimming in any lake, river, or stream, especially before eating or preparing food.
For more information, contact Beix at the South Central Environmental Health Consortium at 608-355-4307 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.