If the water doesn't look fine, you might want to skip the swim and check for blue-green algae blooms.
Many species of blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, have the potential to produce toxins that are harmful to the health of humans and animals when exposed in large amounts.
Here is a list of blue-green algae blooms reported in Muskoka (last updated Wednesday, Nov. 10) with necessary precautions to take listed below:
ACTIVE: As of Nov. 10, residents and visitors to Fawn Lake (Northwest Corner) are being cautioned about a confirmed blue-green algae bloom in the northwest portion of the lake.
ACTIVE: As of Nov. 10, residents and visitors to Menominee Lake (North Menominee Lake Road Area) are being cautioned about a confirmed blue-green algae bloom.
A blue-green algae bloom first reported Oct. 22 at Mary Lake (Port Sydney beach area) in the Town of Huntsville has been resolved as of Nov. 10.
A blue-green algae bloom first reported Oct. 8 at Kahshe Lake in the Town of Gravenhurst has been resolved as of Nov. 10.
ACTIVE: As of Nov. 10, a blue-green algae bloom has been reported in Bass Lake (North Shore of Bass Lake) in the Township of Muskoka Lakes.
ACTIVE: As of Oct. 6, residents and visitors to the south shoreline of Three Mile Lake (Township of Muskoka Lakes) are being cautioned about a confirmed blue-green algae bloom.
ACTIVE: As of Aug. 19, the health unit reports a blue-green algae bloom affecting the north shoreline of Hammell’s Bay, Three Mile Lake. It remains active.
As of Oct. 18, Leonard Lake in the Township of Muskoka Lakes has been given the all-clear after a confirmed blue-green algae bloom impacting the south end of the lake was discovered Aug. 31. It is now resolved.
A blue-green algae bloom first reported July 30 along the southeast shoreline of Stewart Lake in the Township of Georgian Bay has been resolved as of Nov. 10.
A blue-green algae bloom first reported July 28 affecting the southeast and southwest shoreline of Little Lake in the Township of Georgian Bay has been resolved as of Nov. 10.
LAKE OF BAYS
A blue-green algae bloom first reported Aug. 13 affecting the northwest end of Paint Lake in the Township of Lake of Bays has been resolved as of Nov. 10.
There are currently no blue-green algae blooms reported by the health unit in Bracebridge waterways.
As a precautionary measure, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit urges residents and businesses to avoid drinking water from lakes where blue-green algae is visible, and to take the following precautions:
• Do not use the lake water for the preparation of infant formula
• Do not allow pets or livestock to drink or swim in the water where an algae bloom is visible
• Be cautious about eating fish caught in water where blue-green algae blooms occur
• Do not use herbicides, copper sulphate or other algaecides that may break open algae cells and release toxins into the water
• Avoid water sport activities where an algae bloom is visible
The health unit strongly recommends seeking medical attention if symptoms such as skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur while in contact with the bloom. Anyone who comes into contact with blue-green algae should wash with soap and water or rinse thoroughly with clean water.
If you suspect a blue-green algal bloom, call the Spills Action Centre at 1-866-663-8477.
For more information on the health risks associated with blue-green algal blooms, people can contact Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or toll-free at 1-877-721-7520 to speak with a public health inspector.