Blue-green algae in High Rock Lake prompts swim advisory

Blue-green algae in High Rock Lake prompts swim advisory
A swim advisory was issued on High Rock Lake due to the presence of Cyanobacteria blooms, or blue-green algae. (Source: NCDHHS)

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A swim advisory was issued on High Rock Lake due to the presence of cyanobacteria blooms, or blue-green algae.

The Davidson County Health Department reported discovering the blooms Friday. “AVOID CONTACT WITH BLOOMS,” a notice from health officials read.

The algal blooms may be harmful to humans and pets. Health officials recommend that anyone who comes in contact with a bloom to rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible.

“If your pet appears to stumble, stagger, or collapse after contact with a bloom, seek veterinary care immediately,” health officials say. “If you or your child appear ill after contact with a bloom, seek medical care immediately.”

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services describes blue-green algae as naturally-occurring microscopic algae that often grow in fresh bodies of water such as lakes, ponds and canals. The algae uses sun as a source of energy.

“Small numbers of cyanobacteria can explosively grow into large numbers very quickly. This rapid increase is called a bloom,” health officials say.

At least eight ponds have tested positive for active blue-green algae blooms in Mecklenburg County.

“Toxins produced by cyanobacteria can affect the kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, liver, and nervous system of people, pets, livestock and other animals," NCDHHS says.

The toxic algae was also found in the pond at Roosevelt Wilson Park in Davidson.

NCDHHS recommends the following steps to protect pets and children from blue-green algal blooms:

  • Keep children and pets away from waters that appear discolored or scummy.
  • Do not handle or touch large accumulations ("scums" or mats) of algae.
  • Do not water ski or jet ski over algal mats.
  • Do not use scummy water for cleaning or irrigation.
  • If you accidently come into contact with an algal bloom, wash thoroughly.
  • If your pet appears to stumble, stagger, or collapse after being in a pond, lake or river, seek veterinary care immediately.
  • If your child appears ill after being in waters containing a bloom, seek medical care immediately.
  • If you are unsure whether or not a bloom is present, it is best to stay out of the water.

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