Health advisory issued for Fernan Lake due to harmful algae blooms

(Algae along the shores of Fernan Lake on July 16, 2018)
(Algae along the shores of Fernan Lake on July 16, 2018)

FERNAN LAKE — A health advisory has been issued for Fernan Lake due to toxic algae blooms.

The Panhandle Health District and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality are urging the public to use caution when recreating in or near the water, especially where ingestion is a risk.

The advisory comes as water quality monitoring confirmed the presence of cyanobacteria or harmful algae blooms (HAB).

HABs have the potential to produce dangerous toxins in areas of the lake. The physical appearance of the blooms can be unsightly, often presenting in discolored water, streaks or globs of scum and can cause thick green mats along the lake shorelines.

Pets, children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are most at-risk of harmful exposure. Symptoms of exposure can include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and/or wheezing. More severe symptoms can affect the liver and nervous system, which may result from ingesting the water.

Authorities will issue a notice when the concern no longer exists.