Toxic algae: How it affects you and what to look out for

Published: Aug. 14, 2019 at 9:50 AM CDT
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It's that time of year when toxic algae can take over our lakes and ponds.

We've told you about its effects on your pets, but what about you?

At Schmidt Lake in Plymouth, there's a noticeable difference from 2017 to now when it comes to water quality.

"You just look around the lake, it's dramatically improved," said Bruce Wahlstrom.

He worked hard to improve the water quality with his business Weeders Digest. He knows the impact algae can have.

"I know there's some short term impacts from the water," said Wahlstrom. "Seen stories of people getting sick, dogs dying."

With the summer heat and possible pollutants in our water, algae can bloom and become toxic.

Health officials say you can get sick from toxic algae just by swallowing, coming in contact with, or even breathing it in.

"Kind of have a cough, a raspy throat and then indigestion, diarrhea, upset stomach. That's consistent with what we see from algal toxins," said Pam Anderson with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

She says swimmers should be on the look out. Her message is better to be safe than sorry.

"If you aren't certain stay out of the water, want to avoid areas where there's an obvious scum. Those are areas where we tend to see a higher concentration of algae. Looks like spilled paint," said Anderson.

State leaders say there haven't been any cases of people getting sick from toxic algae yet this summer.

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