Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Dangers Associated with Blue-Green Algae

Recently, there has been more concern regarding blue-green algae and its effects on pets and, specifically, children. Blue-green algae can be found in standing water, like lakes, ponds, and other water systems known to be more stagnant.

What is Blue-Green Algae?

Blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, grows in various bodies of water, especially nutrient-rich water. They get their name from their ability to create blooms so thick that it resembles blue-green paint covering the top of the water.

There are two forms of this type of algae (Anabaena and Microcystis) in Texas. Both conditions can cause taste and odor problems in the water. They also create toxins that are poisonous to fish and various other wildlife that drink the contaminated water. There have also been some occurrences of humans getting sick from insufficiently treated water.

It is best to avoid contact with water with visible algal growth.   Swimming in contaminated water and potentially swallowing it can be hazardous. If you are exposed, make sure to wash it off the skin thoroughly and dry the area as soon as possible.  

What are common symptoms of Blue-Green Algae poisoning?

If you suspect someone has ingested or come in contact with blue-green algae, don't hesitate to get in touch with the experts at the Texas Poison Center Network by calling 1-800-222-1222.

Common symptoms can include:

·       Headache

·       Stomach pains

·       Skin, eyes, nose, and throat irritation

·       Vomiting and diarrhea

·       Muscle weakness

·       Dizziness

For more information on blue-green algae and other poisonous substances, please visit the Texas Poison Center Network website at