Blue-Green Algae Warnings Require Extra Caution When Enjoying the Water This Summer

Recently, the KDHE put out a blue-green algae watch on Big Hill Lake, located in Labette County. With warmer months ahead, Coffeyville Regional Medical Center along with the KDHE advises the community to be aware of the current water conditions before choosing to spend time in the water.

Water algae conditions can be checked at https://www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/ .

You may also call the HAB hotline at 785-296-1664.

What does a blue-green algae watch mean?

A watch means that blue-green algae has been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away. Avoid playing or swimming in areas where the water is discolored and has a bad odor. It is also advised to stay away from water that has visible foam, scum or mats of algae on the water’s surface.

Can blue-green algae make me sick?

Blue-green algae is capable of producing several different toxins. People can be exposed to these toxins through skin contact while swimming, inhalation when motor boating or water skiing, or by swallowing contaminated water.

What are common side effects from blue-green algae?

Rashes, skin or eye irritation, nausea, stomach aches, and tingling in the fingers and toes may occur.

How do I  treat symptoms of blue-green algae exposure?

Skin contact with contaminated water: Remove contaminated clothing and jewelry. Wash skin with soap and water for 10-15 minutes. Antihistamines and steroids can be used, if needed.

Eye exposure with contaminated water: Remove any contact lenses or glasses. Irrigate the eyes with normal saline for at least 15 minutes.

If you are having any severe gastrointestinal issues or respiratory distress, please contact your healthcare provider. Please note that respiratory distress symptoms will be significantly more severe and unbearable than symptoms of a common cold.

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