Interior Health warns of potentially harmful algae bloom on Wood Lake | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Interior Health warns of potentially harmful algae bloom on Wood Lake

Interior Health is warning residents to avoid an algae bloom on Wood Lake.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Geri Allan-Helmer
April 21, 2021 - 5:08 PM

After Lake Country residents reported a thick sludge floating on the top of Wood Lake in the past few weeks, Interior Health is warning residents to stay out of the lake.

A potentially harmful blue-green algal bloom has been observed on Wood Lake, according to the health authority.

Residents and visitors of Wood Lake are asked to avoid all contact with the algae bloom, do not consume water directly from the lake, avoid swimming or wading in areas where the bloom is located and provide pets and livestock with a drinking alternative, Interior Health said.

Lake Country resident Geri Allan-Helmer has seen the algae bloom on Wood Lake for the last two weeks along Pelmewash Parkway.

"In the 23 years I have lived in this house I don’t remember it being this bad or brown," he said, adding that he worries about the fish in the lake and the shore birds.

Residents have also reported the algae bloom on social media.

Algal blooms are naturally occurring throughout B.C. and may vary in colour from blue, green, brown, yellow, orange to red and appear like foam, scum, mats on surface or soup. Some algal blooms may also smell unpleasant. Algal blooms containing cyanobacteria may produce harmful toxins, according to an Interior Health media release.

Residents may experience symptoms including: can cause a range of symptoms including: headaches, nausea, fever, sore throat, dizziness, stomach cramps, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle aches, mouth ulcers, blistering of the lips, skin rashes and irritation of the ears and eyes after coming into contact with water contaminated with cyanotoxins, the release said.

Interior Health asks anyone who experiences these symptoms after coming into contact with potentially contaminated water should see a health care professional.

Boiling the water will also not remove any toxins from the algal bloom.

Additional information on cyanobacteria blooms is available at HealthLinkB.C.

— This story was updated at 5:20 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, 2021 to include additional information from Interior Health.

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