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Blue-green algae spotted on Lake Mendota

July 13, 2009 By John Lucas

Cyanobacteria, or toxic blue-green algae blooms, have been spotted on Lake Mendota in the area of Memorial Union and Hoofers.

Beginning today (July 13), affected areas have been marked by signs and Hoofers classes have been alerted, but members of the campus community and public are advised to use caution along the shore.

Toxins released by blue-green algae can cause significant health risks. The algae blooms when there is no wind and hot temperatures with a lot of lake nutrients.

Symptoms of a reaction to algae blooms include eye, throat, nose or skin irritation, and problems such as vomiting or diarrhea. These symptoms can happen between several hours and a few days after being exposed.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services advises the following:

  • Avoid areas of water that look like paint or pea soup
  • Don’t swim or wade through algae.
  • Don’t fish in algae-laden waters.
  • Always shower with soap after swimming in a lake, or wash your hands after coming in contact with lake water.
  • Don’t let pets drink water, eat algae or lick it off their fur.
  • Wash your pet with clean water if it has been exposed.
  • Read more about beaches and blue-green algae.