Health department issues warning about toxic algae bloom in Bay Lake

Staff writerMay 27, 2014 

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department this morning issued an alert about a toxic algae bloom in Bay Lake. Because of the algae, the lake is unsafe for people and pets.

People should keep children and pets away from areas with algae, and should not swim, wade, water ski or fish in areas with algae, the department said in a news release.

The 118-acre lake is just south of Lakebay on the Key Peninsula.

You can easily identify a toxic algae bloom because of its unusual color or appearance in the water. Usually a bloom makes the lake surface look like pea soup or green paint, but sometimes the bloom may be a different color (bluish or brownish). Wind and rain can greatly change the amount and location of algae in the lake.

Swallowing lake water containing algae or prolonged skin contact with the algae may result in illness, such as muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or nausea, the release said. Anyone who swallows water containing large amounts of algae should seek immediate medical attention.

The risk to pets is much greater than the risk to people. Pets have smaller body sizes and are more likely to drink water containing a heavy concentration of algae. If a pet ingests a large amount of algae and is showing signs such as vomiting, lethargy, disorientation, or seizures, take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible, according to the release.

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