Harmful algae blooms and your health

Back to harmful algae blooms

Staying safe around harmful algae blooms
The only way to know if an algae bloom is harmful is to have it tested, and the best way to stay safe is to stay out of water with algae blooms. If you see algae blooms:
  • Stay out of the water.
  • Don't drink the water
  • Keep your pets and livestock away from the water.
  • Avoid boating near or through algae blooms.
  • Clean fish well and discard guts appropriately.
Health effects of harmful algae blooms

Health effects of harmful algae blooms vary according to the kind of bacteria in the algae and whether you touched it, swallowed it, or swam in it. Symptoms include:

  • Skin irritation or rashes.
  • Blisters around the mouth and nose.
  • Asthma.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Headache.
  • Sore throat.
  • Fever.
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Liver damage.
Contact your health care provider if you think algae has made you sick.  Contact your veterinarian if you think algae has made a pet of livestock animal sick. If you have questions about the health effects of harmful algae blooms, contact the Poison Control at 1-800-222-2222.