The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County has released a health alert warning residents to refrain from activities in Orange, Lochloosa and Newnans lakes.
The alert warns of the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins. The levels of algae are low, but the alert still asks the public to exercise caution.
The blue-green algae are common in Florida’s freshwater. They are often caused by warmer weather, still water conditions, and excess nutrients.
The following guidelines were in the press release sent by the FLDOH in Alachua County:
- Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski, or boat in waters with a visible bloom.
- Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
- Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms, are not safe for animals. When algae blooms are present, pets and livestock should have a different water source.
- Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.
- Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts, and cook fish well.
- Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.
Blue-green algae blooms can impact human health and ecosystems, including fish and other aquatic wildlife. For additional information on the potential health effects of algal blooms, visit the Florida Department of Health’s Aquatic Toxins website.
For more information, contact the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County at 352-334-7930.