Alberta Health Services has issued a series of advisories at central and northern lakes in the province due to “elevated levels of fecal bacteria currently present in the water.”
Wabamun and Zeiner lakes are in the Edmonton region, Sturgeon Lake is east of Grande Prairie, while Buffalo and Gull lakes are in the Red Deer region.
Health officials say that at current levels, it’s possible to become ill with gastrointestinal issues after coming into contact with the water and get skin, ear and eye infections.
If Albertans enter the water at the affected beaches, they should avoid contact with their face and mouth and wash hands after exiting.
AHS is posting signs at the beaches to inform those who visit about the high fecal levels.
Blue-green algae advisories
A number of Alberta Lakes are also under blue-green algae warnings, including Sturgeon and Pigeon lakes, as well as many others.
Blue-green algae can lead to skin irritation, sore throat and eyes, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. The algae can also be toxic to pets, AHS said.
Albertans should aim to avoid all contact with blue-green algae blooms, which can appear as scum, fuzz or globs on the water surface or grass-like clippings. Despite its name, it can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown or pinkish-red.