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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Algae bloom at Fernan Lake causes health advisory

UPDATED: Wed., July 22, 2020

Algae on the shores of Fernan Lake on July 20, 2020.   (Emma Epperly / The Spokesman-Review)
Algae on the shores of Fernan Lake on July 20, 2020.  (Emma Epperly / The Spokesman-Review)

A health advisory was issued Wednesday for Fernan Lake by the Panhandle Health District. 

Water quality monitoring found the presence of cyanobacteria or a harmful algae bloom, according to a health district statement. The bloom can produce dangerous toxins in the areas of the lake. It can also create thick green mats along the lake’s shorelines, the health district said. 

People with compromised immune systems, pets, children, and the elderly are most at-risk of harmful exposure, the health district said. The health district cautioned people recreating in the area to avoid exposure to the lake water appearing to contain the algae. 

Symptoms of exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and wheezing. Severe symptoms from ingestion of water can affect the liver and nervous system. People with prolonged symptoms should consult a health care provide, the health district said. 

If an individual does come into contact with the algae, the health district recommended they wash off with fresh water. Anyone eating fish from the lake should remove fat, skin, and organs before cooking. 

The health district said they would advise the public when algae concerns no longer exist. 

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