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Blue-green algae bloom on Wood Lake prompts health advisory from IHA

A photo of an algae bloom on Wood Lake in the Central Okanagan. Global News

A health advisory has been issued for Wood Lake because of an ongoing algae bloom.

This week, Interior Health issued a public service announcement regarding the Central Okanagan lake, advising people not to swim or bathe there, nor to drink the water.

The health agency also said to keep pets away from the lake, stating the blue-green bloom, which can look like thick sludge in some parts, can cause the water to become dangerous to people, pets and livestock.

Read more: Interior Health deems algae bloom on Wood Lake a low health risk to public

The announcement was a turn-around from three weeks ago, when Interior Health called the bloom a low health risk to the public, stating the water was considered safe for use.

“Swimming or drinking algae-bloom affected water can cause headaches, nausea, fever, muscle aches, mouth ulcers, red skin, sore throat, cramps or diarrhea,” Interior Health said in this week’s announcement.

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Click to play video: 'Large algae bloom detected in Shuswap Lake' Large algae bloom detected in Shuswap Lake
Large algae bloom detected in Shuswap Lake – Aug 12, 2020

For this reason, IHA is recommending that individuals:

  • Assume the water is not safe for drinking for people or animals.
  • Do not swim or bathe in the lake.
  • Keep your animals away from the lake.
  • Livestock and pet owners should not allow their animals to go in the water.
  • People with water intakes on Wood Lake should use an alternate source of drinking water.
  • Boiling the water will not remove the toxins created by the blue-green algae bloom.

If you are showing any of the symptoms listed above and believe they may be from exposure to blue-green algae, see a healthcare provider.

For more information about cyanobacteria blooms (blue-green algae) visit HealthLinkBC or the Ministry of Environment’s algae watch website.

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