Watch out for blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) if you're planning on going to a lake over the August long weekend.

There are a number of lakes across Alberta currently affected.

And be especially careful with your pets too because if a dog or your pet drinks the water, it could be fatal.

Alberta Health Services states on their website to take the following precautions:

  • Avoid all contact with cyanobacterial blooms. If contact occurs, wash with tap water as soon as possible.
  • Do not swim or wade or allow your pets to swim or wade in any areas where cyanobacteria is visible.
  • Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from this reservoir to your pets.
  • Consider limiting human consumption of whole fish and fish trimmings from this reservoir, as it is known that fish may store toxins in their liver. (People can safely consume fish fillets from this reservoir).
  • Do not use water contaminated with cyanobacteria to water edible plants. This is particularly important for plants with edible parts exposed to the ground surface (such as cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, and other salad vegetables).

AHS also reminds to never drink or cook with water that's been contaminated as even boiling water will not remove the toxins from the blue-green algae.

They also say if you do come into contact with blue-green algae that it could result in a rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea.  Symptoms start appearing within one to three hours and take one to two days to pass. 

Cyanobacteria is naturally occurring, and often becomes visible when weather conditions are calm. Appearing like scum, grass clippings, fuzz, or globs on the surface of water, cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red, and often smell musty or grassy.

Click here for the areas currently in Alberta that have blue-green advisories in effect.