A public health advisory was issued for Lake Fernand on Friday. Recent water samplings by the Environmental Quality Agency have shown the presence of cyanobacteria, also known as harmful algae blooms (HAB), in water.
“HABs can be spread and transported by wind and water traffic, so the general public should take precautions throughout the lake,” a joint news release from DEQ and state and local public health officials said. Says.
Owners of private domestic water systems that use the lake as a drinking water source should be aware that boiling or filtering the water does not remove potentially present toxins. In case of contact with water containing HAB (swimming, bathing, showering, etc.), it is recommended to rinse with fresh water.
When eating lake-caught fish, it is recommended that all fat, skin, and viscera be removed prior to cooking, as toxins tend to accumulate in tissues such as fat, skin, and viscera.
Symptoms of exposure to HABs vary depending on the exposure. Symptoms include rash, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and/or wheezing. Drinking water can cause serious symptoms affecting the liver and nervous system. If symptoms persist, consult a healthcare provider or veterinarian in case of pet contact.
Cyanobacteria are a natural part of Idaho’s waters. Rising temperatures can increase populations and release cyanotoxins, toxic compounds, into the water. HABs can be dispersed and displaced by wind and currents, so be careful if the water is discolored or cloudy. The physical appearance of these blooms varies, appearing as discolored water, streaks, or clumps of scum that can cause thick green mats along coastlines.
Pets, children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk.
The public is urged to exercise caution when engaging in recreational activities in or near Lake Fernán if HAB manifestations are observed.