Public health warns of blue green algae bloom in Grand Bend

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Lambton Public Health is warning people using the Ausable River near Grand Bend of a possible blue-green algae bloom near the Yacht Club.

The samples were collected Tuesday and are headed to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks lab for Algal Identification and cyanotoxin analysis.

People who come in contact with the algae bloom can have serious health issues including irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, throat, or lungs, stomach pain, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting and in severe cases, liver damage.

Officials say the symptoms can be more serious if water is swallowed in large quantities and you should contact your doctor.

If you are near where a bloom was detected or where a bloom is visible, safety measures you can take include:

  • Do not use the water and keep animals out of the water. This includes drinking,
    cooking, bathing, swimming and other water sports, and brushing teeth.
    Using a private water system or boiling the water will NOT destroy the toxins;
  • If skin contact does occur, wash with soap and water and then rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae;
  • Limit the amount of fish flesh you eat. Some toxins can build up in fish and
    shellfish. Do not eat the liver, kidneys, and other organs. Be careful not to cut the organs when filleting.