As Vermonters spend more time outdoors and in the water during the hot and humid stretch of weather, health officials want you to know what Cyanobacteria blooms look like so you can avoid them.
“They are native, and are an important part of the ecosystem.” said Lori Fisher, Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Committee. “Why we are concerned about them is under certain conditions, certain cyanobacteria can give off toxins.” said Fisher.
Warm waters create ideal conditions for blue-green algae to grow. These are tiny microorganisms that are a natural port of fresh water ecosystems.
Under certain conditions, the blue green algae can multiple quickly, creating blooms on the waters surface and wash up along shorelines. Swimming with these algae blooms may cause skin rashes, diarrhea, a sore throat, stomach problems and even more serious health concerns.
“Recognize that children and pets are particularly vulnerable because they are smaller, so any impact, any exposure and dose of cyanobacteria is going to hit them harder.” said Fisher.
If you think you see blue-green algae, avoid contact with the water, do not let pets swim in or drink the water. Contact the local beach manager or town office. You can also email the department of health at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you come in contact with the blue green algae, rinse yourself off thoroughly as soon as possible and talk with your health provider.
If you are interested in learning more about cyanobacteria and identifying it in your own backyard, the Lake Champlain Committee offers online training via Zoom. The upcoming training is taking place at 2 pm on Tuesday, July 14th. You can find more here.
You can also learn more at: www.lakechamplaincommittee.org