With summer here, and warmer temperatures expected later in the week, people may be thinking of heading out to the lake to relax. Before diving into the water, you may want to take an extra look around, suggests the Water Security Agency (WSA). 

The WSA and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health have advised the public to beware of blue-green algae. They suggest avoiding direct contact, intended or unintended consumption of any surface water where blooms are occurring. 

The agencies also advise pet owners and livestock producers to keep their animals away from suspected blooms. 

The WSA gave the following description of the algae in a release. 

“Potentially harmful algae blooms are heavy concentrations of blue-green algae that often give the water a shimmering, foamy and pea soup like appearance. The blooms may be blue-green, bright blue, grey or tan in colour. Warm temperatures can result in the quick formation of algal blooms.”

Blooms commonly occur during calm, hot weather in lakes and reservoirs with shallow, slow-moving water that has sufficient nutrients, stated the WSA. The algae can last up to three weeks and can potentially be pushed around the lake or reservoir by the wind. 

“Direct contact or unintended consumption of algae-contaminated water can cause red skin, sore throat, cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.”

The agencies suggest exercising caution when consuming fish or shellfish caught in areas where blooms exist. Internal organs of the fish should not be eaten, stated the WSA. 

The WSA suggests consulting with a health care provider or the Saskatchewan Health Authority if any concerns are made. 

Information about the health of Saskatchewan’s public beaches can be found here.