Be alert to the dangers of blue-green algae

PICTURE BY SEAN BELL/NEWS.'LINLITHGOW LOCH WHERE BLUE GREEN ALGAE HAS BECOME TOXIC AND IS HAZARDOUS TO THE HEALTH OF HUMANS AND ANIMALS.

PICTURE BY SEAN BELL/NEWS.'LINLITHGOW LOCH WHERE BLUE GREEN ALGAE HAS BECOME TOXIC AND IS HAZARDOUS TO THE HEALTH OF HUMANS AND ANIMALS.

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NHS Tayside has issued a reminder to people in Angus to be on the lookout for blooms of potentially hazardous blue-green algae in the area’s waterbodies.

The algae, which can be found in lochs, ponds, reservoirs, rivers and in the sea, are tiny organisms that develop naturally and and can cause harm to humans and animals alike.

They are commonly found during summer, especially in waterways that have been affected by agricultural, domestic or industrial discharges.

NHS Tayside is advising the public, especially people undertaking water sports, anglers and dog owners, to be alert to the blooms as temperatures rise.

“We routinely monitor levels of blue-green algae over the warmer months because of the potential health risk to people and to animals,” explained Dr Jackie Hyland, consultant in public health medicine for NHS Tayside.

“Contact with the algal scum or water close to it can cause skin rashes or eye irritation.

“If the water is accidentally swallowed, or affected fish eaten, then more serious health effects can include vomiting, diarrhoea, or pains in muscles and joints.”

Anyone who finds a loch, pond or river which they suspect is affected by blue-green algae and which is not displaying a warning sign, should contact their local environmental health service.