MDHHS Gives Tips For Identifying And Avoiding Harmful Algal Blooms

MDHHS Gives Tips For Identifying And Avoiding Harmful Algal Blooms

LANSING - Michigan is the Great Lakes State, which makes tips for identifying and avoiding harmful algal blooms, helpful during the hot summer months.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said HABs form from blooms or rapid overgrowth of cyanobacteria, which is also known as blue-green algae.

“Before going in the water, we recommend Michiganders look for visible algal blooms or scums on any lake, and that people and pets stay out of water in areas that look affected,” said chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

HABs can last for days or sometimes weeks at a time and often appear as algal scums, spilled paint, pea soup or colored streaks in the water.

According to MDHHS, people and animals should avoid going into the water or near the shore if they believe they have found HABs, but any part of the lake that doesn’t have HABs present is swimmable and approachable.

In addition, MDHHS also encourages people to rinse of themselves and their pets after having contact with any lake water. People can report suspected HABs by calling 800.662.9278.

If someone suspects they or someone they know have been exposed to HABs, some common symptoms of HABs exposure include hives, blisters, rashes, difficulty breathing, dizziness, headaches, numbness, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, runny nose or runny eyes.

“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, seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible,” said Khaldun.

To prevent HABs from inhabiting Michigan waters, Michiganders can limit harmful nutrients from entering waters by disposing of pet waste properly, using phosphate-free detergents and only applying recommended amounts of fertilizer only when fertilizer is necessary.

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