Officials in Illinois are warning residents about harmful algae being found in the Illinois River.
The warning comes from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois EPA after blue-green algae was discovered in the water.
Blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) are microscopic organisms that naturally occur in lakes and streams. Some blue-green algae can produce toxins that are harmful to both animals and humans.
As of now, officials are monitoring water conditions, on the Illinois river, in a stretch from Morris to Lacon.
A blue-green algal “bloom”, which occurs with the rapid growth of algae, was discovered along that stretch of the river. An initial screening of a water sample, taken near Hennepin, indicated an elevated level of the algae.
Algal toxins can cause sickness or other health effects depending on the amount and type of exposure to humans and pets. Exposure to the algae can include skin contact, swallowing contaminated water, or inhaling water droplets in the air. Symptoms of exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing or wheezing.
Those that are very young, old, and have a compromised immune system are most at risk.
If you or your pet come in contact with blue-green algae you should do the following:
- Rinse off with clean, fresh water as soon as possible
- Wash your hands before eating
- Possibly contact your health care provider if you’re concerned about symptoms you may have from exposure to blue-green algae.
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