Blue Green Algae found on Lake Winnebago, Public Health Gives Tips to Stay Safe

Local News

The Fourth of July holiday is already in full swing and you may have plans to hang out by the lake for some fun.

But there’s something in the water you’ll want to be on the lookout for.

The algae on Lake Winnebago isn’t stopping people from keeping to their Fourth of July water fun and that may be because blue-green algae isn’t uncommon during this time of year.

“The blue-green algae occurs every summer during the heat and the kind of the weather that we have in the summer is the perfect mixture of the temperature and rainfall and then they just grow in the lake,” says environmental health specialist Morgan Peterson.

Also known as cyanobacteria, the algae can cause stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.

It sometimes can cause skin irritation like dermatitis or swimmers itch. 

“Getting it on your body is not necessarily a hazard,” says Peterson. “Just making sure you always shower after or if you have an animal in the water, always hose them off with clean water afterwards.”

If you’re not sure if you should stay away from the water, the Department of Natural Resources has a list of what local bodies of water could put your health at risk and your pet.

“Always look at the beach advisories or any postings before you get in the water at each beach, because it does differ between every beach,” Peterson says.

So before your family and pets decide to go for a dip take a second look at the water.

“If you see any foam, any of the green water that almost looks like a paint kind of texture or any of the big mats of algae, stay away from that and just don’t go in the water,” says Peterson.

The DNR is working to address these issues, they’re holding a public information session Wednesday, July 11, to discuss it’s plan to improve water quality in the community.

To learn more about blue-green algae and health risks, visit the Winnebago County Health Department website.

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