3 March 2023
You can find whether there are Algal Blooms and where it is safe to swim at https://www.lawa.org.nz/explore-data/swimming
From time to time health warnings are issued by Toi Te Ora - Public Health. They are based on the results of tests for levels of cyanobacteria, or algal bloom, in water samples, visual assessments and satellite imagery. “It is important to avoid any activity which results in contact with the lake water, for which there are health warnings” says Dr Gregory Evans, Public Health Medicine Physician for Toi Te Ora Public Health.
Cyanobacteria can release toxins which can trigger asthma and hay fever symptoms, skin rashes, stomach upsets, and in some cases neurological effects such as tingling around the mouth, headaches, breathing difficulties and visual problems.
“Algal mats and scum may also accumulate along the shoreline of the lake and so it’s especially important that parents ensure that children avoid contact with these as they may be toxic,” says Dr Evans.
Dogs are particularly at risk and should also be kept away from the shoreline. Elsewhere in New Zealand there have been reported deaths of dogs that have eaten algae on shorelines.
More up-to-date information on health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts is available through these channels:
Phone: 0800 221 555
More information: www.toiteora.govt.nz/public/recreational-water
Email alerts for subscribers: www.toiteora.govt.nz/news