The water at Wood Lake is deemed low-risk, but swimming is discouraged according to the most recent update from the local health authority (July 7).
Toxins were not detected in the July 5 test, but conditions can change so Interior Health continues to recommend rising with clean water if you choose to enter the water and to avoid direct contact with the bloom.
Consider using an alternate source of drinking water as even boiling the water won’t remove the toxins. Livestock and pets should be considered in this as well.
Algae blooms like this are naturally occurring throughout the province and can vary in colour from blue, green, brown, yellow, orange to red and appear like foam, scum, mats on the surface or soup. Some may be smell unpleasant.
Swimmer’s itch is also a common concern, the district said of its visitors and residents. This is a temporary, itchy rash caused by small worm-like parasites called schistosomes.
Schistosomes are found in many lakes, ponds and coastal waters in B.C. The tiny larvae are most likely found floating near the surface.
Symptoms may appear within 12 hours and lasts two to five days. In some cases, symptoms can last two weeks.
Calamine lotion, antihistamines, lukewarm baths with baking soda, oatmeal baths and cool compresses can help relieve the itch. Avoid scratching as it may cause infections.