While not all Blue-Green Algal Blooms are toxic, when they are, they can have serious negative effects on your health, especially of our elders and children. The only definitive way to tell if it is toxic is to send it to a lab to be tested. Therefore, it is best to avoid contact with blooms at all times.
Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) can negatively affect human health through inhalation, direct contact, and ingestion. There are over 200 species of cyanobacteria, which produce many different kinds of toxins with varying health effects.
In 2012 HABs were reported along Ohi:yo' from Willow Bay to Cold Spring Creek, a span of about 10-miles, with blue-green algae counts of 52 million cells/ml. The WHO classifies counts above 10 million cells/ml to have a very high probability of adverse health effects in recreational waters.
In 2014 the Watershed Resources Working Group (WRWG) began monitoring and collecting samples of blue-green algae in response to the persistence of HABs in Ohi:yo'. The WRWG posts warnings for 13 to 15 weeks.
The World Health Organization (W.H.O) has outlined recommendations in case people or animals are near potentially affected areas with blue-green algal blooms.
What do to if You Do Come into Contact?
- Avoid areas where the Nation has posted HAB warnings
- Avoid areas where you can visually see blue-green algae blooms.
- Avoid sitting downwind of a HAB.
- If you're in the water with a blue-green algal bloom wear close fitting clothing.
- Shower or wash yourself after leaving the water in case any algae is present on your person.
- Wash and dry all clothing or recreational equipment that was in contact with the bloom.