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Avoid Blue-Green Algae: Know Your Oklahoma Lake Conditions

Avoid Blue-Green Algae: Know Your Oklahoma Lake Conditions

As the summer season continues many of us are spending our free days and weekends at our favorite lakes. With over 200 lakes across the state, Oklahoma is a premier place for grand water recreation. Whether you are boating, swimming or fishing, it’s important to check the condition of the lake before heading out for a fun-filled time with family and friends. This vital step is often forgotten and can impact your entire trip.

Like any large body of water, lakes present various natural hazards. Blue-green algae are a hazard commonly seen during this time of the year leading into the fall.  Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are bacterial organisms that live in fresh, warm bodies of water. Blue-green algae form in thick clusters or blooms on the surface of the water; blooms mirror a foamy scum texture and can be blue, green, red or brown.

While most algae found in lakes are harmless, blue-green algae can produce toxins that are dangerous to one’s health. Exposure to blue-green algae can cause the following symptoms:

•    Dizziness

•    Weakness

•    Numbness and irritation to the face

•    Abdominal pain

•    Diarrhea and vomiting

•    Difficult breathing

•    Tingling in hands and toes

Seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you know begin to experience the symptoms above.

There are ways to prevent illness related to blue-green algae and other potentially dangerous substances. Below are some important tips to follow to help protect you and your loved ones from lake bacteria:

•    Routinely check for the latest lake conditions before getting in or near the water

•    Avoid activities in water that is discolored or where foam or scum is present 

•    Be sure to wear earplugs and swim goggles while in the water

•    Always wash your hands with soap and warm water before eating and drinking

•    Check and abide by all water closures and rules

To learn more about Oklahoma lakes and water conditions, visit  www.travelok.com/checkmyoklake