What Wyomingites Need to Know About Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms
Wyomingites are being reminded to check on current recreational use advisories for publicly accessible waterbodies after two dogs died from cyanobacteria poisoning from a lake south of Laramie.
Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can form blooms that produce toxins and other irritants that pose a health risk, especially to young children, pregnant women, people with weak immune systems and animals.
The harmful cyanobacterial blooms typically occur in still or slow-moving water as temperatures increase during the summer. They are episodic and can last for a few hours or a number of months.
The Wyoming Department of Health issues a recreational use advisory once the Department of Environmental Quality determines that harmful levels of cyanobacteria and/or toxins are present in the water.
If blue-green algae is present, the following is recommended:
- Avoid contact with water in the vicinity of the bloom, especially in areas where cyanobacteria are dense and form scum.
- Do not ingest water from the bloom. Boiling, filtration and/or other treatments will not remove toxins.
- Rinse fish with clean water and eat only the fillet portion.
- Avoid water spray from the bloom.
- Do not allow pets or livestock to drink water near the bloom, eat bloom material or lick fur after contact.
- If people, pets or livestock come into contact with a bloom, rinse off with clean water as soon as possible.
People should seek medical attention if they or their animal is experiencing adverse health effects after exposure to a cyanobacterial bloom.