A toxic algal bloom on Wood Lake has surfaced, prompting a warning from Interior Health for residents to stay out of the water and to not their animals drink it. (Mel Farrell photo)

Algal bloom found on Lake Country’s Wood Lake

While most algal blooms are harmless, some species have the potential to produce toxins that can be harmful to humans

A potentially harmful algal bloom has been observed on Wood Lake.

A release on the subject from Interior Health did not specify where on Wood Lake the bloom was seen.

While most algal blooms are harmless, some species have the potential to produce toxins that can be harmful to humans. Residents and visitors to Wood Lake are advised to:

• Avoid all direct contact with bloom;

• Do not consume drinking water directly from the lake;

• Do not swim or wade in any areas where the bloom is visible;

• Provide pets and livestock with a safe alternative source of drinking water.

Algal blooms are naturally occurring throughout B.C. Blooms 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.

Consuming or coming into contact with water contaminated with cyanotoxins 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.

It is important that you rinse your body with clean water immediately after exposure to contaminated water. Rinsing is recommended even without symptoms.

If you are showing any of the symptoms listed above and believe they may be from exposure to cyanobacteria, see your health care provider.

Visitors and residents are reminded not to drink or cook using untreated water directly from lakes, ponds or wetlands due to the risk of waterborne illness. Boiling the water will not remove any toxins from the algal bloom. Provide an alternative source of drinking water for pets and livestock while this advisory is active.

READ MORE: Grant program aims to help North Okanagan-Shuswap landowners to protect water quality

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan researchers discover neurotoxin in Lake Winnipeg



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