If you plan on visiting Michigan waters this summer, be aware of potentially harmful algal blooms.
These blooms are caused by cyanobacteria which could impact the health of both humans and animals. These blooms are also called blue-green algae and they’re a natural part of Michigan’s lakes, rivers and ponds.
Some of these blooms produce cyanotoxins which can make people sick if they grow to form HABs.
Breathing in or swallowing water containing HABs and their toxins may cause runny eyes or nose, asthma-like symptoms, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, numbness, headaches, dizziness or difficulty breathing.
Skin contact can cause rashes, blisters and hives.
“As it’s not possible to know if an algal bloom is harmful just by looking at it, we urge Michiganders to avoid discolored areas in the water or water that looks like it has algae growing on it,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “If you may have had contact with or swallowed water with a HAB and feel sick, call your doctor or Poison Control at 800-222-1222. If symptoms are severe, get emergency medical attention as soon as possible.”
Not all algae found in lakes is considered HABs.