Alberta health officials are warning people to stay away from two sites in the southwestern part of the province where toxic blue green algae is in bloom.
Blue green algae are currently in the waters of the Twin Valley Reservoir and nearby Clear Lake, both northeast of Claresholm.
The algae produces a toxin that can make animals or humans seriously ill and people are being advised not to swim or wade in the bodies of water, or allow their pets to do so.
As well, people are being advised not to drink water from the sites, as even boiling water will not remove the toxins produced by the algae.
Anyone who comes into contact with the algae along the shorelines should avoid contact with it and should also not feed feed or fish trimmings from the sites to pets.
Alberta Health Services says people may want to limit their consumption of whole fish or fish trimmings (heads, bones and skins) from the lake as well, but can safely consume fish fillets from Clear Lake.
People who come into contact with the algae may experience skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting or diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days.
Although weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location at the sites to another, the toxins can stay in the water even if the algae have moved or disappeared.
Anyone suspecting a problem related to blue green algae is advised to call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-5465