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NHS Scotland Warn Over Blue Green Algae

With schools breaking up for the summer holidays, NHS Tayside are reminding people to be aware of blue-green algae.

The algae has the potential to be dangerous to both people and animals and can be found in rivers, lochs, ponds, reservoirs and the sea. The algae is naturally forming and areas that are known to be affected will be marked with a warning sign.

The Consultant in Public Health Medicine for NHS Tayside, Dr Emily Stevenson, said: “We routinely monitor levels of blue-green algae over the warmer months because of the potential health risk to people and to animals,”

“Canoeists, wind surfers and swimmers who come into contact with the algal scum or who accidentally swallow affected water can suffer from complaints such as skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, or pains in muscles and joints. These symptoms are usually mild, but in some cases, can be severe.

“The risk to small animals like dogs is significant over the summer months as they tend to drink more water in the heat and may eat shoreline algal crusts. Dog owners should keep an eye on their pets, especially if they come into contact with water which could be affected.

“The public should be reassured that public water supplies are always treated to prevent any harmful effects to health due to blue-green algae.”

The algae is known to discolour the water and can make the water appear green, blue-green or greenish brown. On occasion the algae has been known to group together to form a scum on top of the water. At the shoreline the algae can form a crust which may appear black or brown.

If you discover a pond, loch or river that you suspect may be affected by blue-green algae and there is no sign present, please contact your local environmental health service or report the blue-green algae on the blooming algae app.

The contact numbers for the local environmental health services in Perth and Kinross is: 01738 476476

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