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12 March 2018

Blue-green algae, also known as "cyanobacteria" are naturally occurring bacteria found in lakes in Quebec. They multiply mostly in the summertime. When these bacteria become over abundant, the blue-green algae forms what is called algae bloom that can spread to parts of or the entirety of a body of water. Thereupon, the water becomes greenish and has a texture that resembles paint or even broccoli soup. Foam can also appear at the surface of water contaminated by the blue-green algae. It is generally when this foam becomes visible that the blue-green algae are dangerous for your health.

16 March 2018

Certain blue-green algae produce toxic substances that can cause health problems. For example, some people might suffer from symptoms that resemble gastroenteritis or have irritated skin or a sore throat especially after drinking blue-green algae-contaminated water or having come into contact with it.

 

If you have had direct contact with the algae bloom or the foam or have swallowed blue-green algae-contaminated water, watch out for the following symptoms:

 

  • stomach pain;

  • diarrhea, vomiting;

  • headaches;

  • fever;

  • irritated skin;

  • sore throat.

 

If one or many of these symptoms occur within 24-48 hours of direct contact with the contaminated water, you can communicate with Info-Santé 8-1-1 or consult a physician. It is important to mention that you have been in direct contact with the blue-green algae or have swallowed the contaminated water.

5 March 2018

You can swim and participate in nautical and aquatic activities in the places where you do not see the algae bloom or foam. However, when they are visible:

  • keep a distance of at least 3 meters from the algae bloom or foam;

  • avoid any activity which makes you come into contact with them.

 

You can resume any swimming and nautical or aquatic activities in the areas where algae bloom or foam was seen 24 hours after they have disappeared.

 

Other precautions

 

If you have touched blue-green algae or touched a object or an animal which has come into contact with them:

  • avoid putting your hands in or close to your mouth;

  • wash your hands as soon as possible.

 

If you find yourself in an area that is contaminated with blue-green algae or close to a contaminated sector, keep an eye on children so that they do not play with the algae bloom or the foam.

Avoid eating the internal parts (eggs, for example) of fish that come from a body of water where there is algae bloom or foam.

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