The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging anglers and other recreational water users to be vigilant about checking for harmful freshwater algal blooms, known as HABs, while enjoying area lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams and creeks this year.
“These blooms pose risks to the health and safety of people and pets drinking the water and recreating in water bodies affected by blooms,” according to a CDFW release.
Children and pets, especially dogs, are particularly susceptible to HABs because of their smaller body size, increased potential to swallow water while swimming and tendency to stay in the water longer. Dogs are also at an increased risk of exposure because they tend to lick their fur after coming into contact with water.
Symptoms of HABs-related illnesses in humans include sore throat or congestion; coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing; red, itchy skin or a rash; skin blisters or hives; earache; irritated eyes; diarrhea or vomiting; agitation; headache; and abdominal pain.
Symptoms may occur within 48 hours of exposure to a waterbody with a suspected or confirmed case algal bloom and the toxins contained in them, according to the California Water Quality Monitoring Council.
“Animals can experience symptoms within minutes to days following exposure to the cyanobacterial toxins,” read a statement on the CWQMC website. “Symptoms they might experience include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficulty breathing, seizures or death.”
The CWQMC recommends both humans and animals seek medical attention immediately if they show symptoms of cyanotoxin and/or cyanobacteria exposure after contact with water or with scums or mats of algae.
Currently there are no reported HABs in bodies of water located in Yuba, Sutter or Colusa counties. A state-wide list of voluntarily reported cases can be found athttps://mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/where/freshwater_events.html.
The CDFW also said these toxins can accumulate in fish and shellfish to levels that pose threats to people and wildlife.
“These chemicals accumulate in the guts of fish and in shellfish,” read a release issued by the CDFW. “For this reason, only cleaned fish fillets and no shellfish consumption is recommended if a HAB is present and an advisory is posted at the caution or warning level.”
The CDFW recommends that no water contact or fish consumption is recommended if a danger advisory is posted. They also recommend no consumption of fish guts at any warning level.
For more information, call 844-729-6466 or visit https://mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/.