(Brookville, Ind.) - New testing of waters in some of Indiana’s most popular waterways shows high levels of blue-green algae.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, State Department of Health, and the State Department of Natural Resources cooperated to conduct testing in nine locations across the state in July.
A guideline level of algae has been set at 100,000 cells per milliliter by the World Health Organization. Levels in excess can lead to rashes, skin, eye irritation, and other uncomfortable effects such as nausea, stomach aches, and tingling in fingers and toes.
Given its name by its appearance, blue-green algae are organisms that grow and live in brackish or fresh waters. They can grow quickly and can spread with increased temperature and sunlight – both of which have been in abundance this summer.
“We recommend people use caution when swimming, skiing, or participating in other recreational water activities,” said Jennifer House, DVM, veterinary epidemiologist at the Indiana State Department of Health. “Avoid coming into direct contact with the algae and try to avoid swallowing water if at all possible.”
Testing at Brookville Lake’s Whitewater Memorial Beach conducted July 20 showed below 100,000 cells per milliliter, less threatening to humans who swim there.
The following levels have been recorded at other Indiana parks:
Dr. House says in a news release it is always a good idea to take a bath or shower with warm, soapy water after coming in contact with untreated water in ponds and lakes, especially before preparing or consuming food. She also recommends people never drink, cook, or shower with untreated water from lakes, ponds, or streams. Pets and livestock should also not be allowed to swim in or drink untreated water from these sources. If you should experience any symptoms after water recreational activities, please contact your doctor.
Indiana Blue-Green Algae Website - www.algae.in.gov