The Florida Department of Health in Orange County has issued a Health Caution for the presence of blue-green algae in Big Sand Lake in Dr. Phillips.
This is in response to a site visit and water sample taken Jan. 3, 2023.
Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:
• Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, waterski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
• Avoid getting water in your eyes, nose or mouth
• Keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location
• Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well. You should not eat shellfish from this location
What is blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria common in Florida’s freshwater environments. A bloom occurs when rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors. Some environmental factors that contribute to blue-green algae blooms are sunny days, warm water temperatures, still water conditions and excess nutrients. Blooms can appear year-round, but are more frequent in summer and fall. Many types of blue-green algae can produce toxins.
Is it harmful?
Blue-green algae blooms can impact human health and ecosystems, including fish and other aquatic animals.
What do I do if I see an algal bloom?
• The Florida Department of Environmental Protection collects and analyzes algal bloom samples. To report a bloom to FDEP, call the toll-free hotline at 855-305-3903.
• To report fish kills, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute at 1-800-636-0511.
• Report symptoms from exposure to a harmful algal bloom or any aquatic toxin to the Florida Poison Information Center, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a poison specialist immediately.
• Contact your veterinarian if you believe your pet has become ill after consuming or having contact with blue-green algae contaminated water.
• If you have other health questions or concerns about blue-green algae blooms, please call the Florida Department of Health in Orange County Call Center at (407) 723-5004.