Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB)
- What is a HAB?
It's an overgrowth of microscopic algae that derives energy from the sun. This can occur in both fresh and salt bodies of water.
- What causes an HAB?
There can be severals causes: stagnant water, pollution, warm water or climate change.
- Is a HAB toxic?
Yes, they can be. Humans and pets should avoid contact with any water that appears slimy, scummy or smells foul.
- What does a HAB look like?
On the water surface, it can look like froth, foam, paint or scum. It can be several different colors to include: bluish-green, red, brown, yellow or even pink.
- What are the routes of exposure?
- Skin Contact
- What kind of symptoms can humans experience if exposed?
- Ear, eye, nose, skin, throat irritation and headache
- Paralysis, respiratory illness and seizures
- Abdominal pain, diarrhead, liver and kidney damage. Vomiting.
- What kind of symptoms can pets experience if exposed?
- Drooling, diarrhea, low engery, not eating, stumbling, tremors. Vomiting.
- What do I do if I've been exposed to a HAB?
- Shower immeidately
- Contact your Primary Care Physician (PCP) if symptoms occur
- Contact the National Poison Control Center at: 1-800-222-1222
- What do I do if my pet has been exposed to a HAB?
- If you think your pet may have been exposed to an algal bloom, rinse their fur with fresh water and consult your veterinarian immediately.
- How do I report a suspect HAB?
- Contact the Shrewsbury Health Department at: 508-841-8384
City of Worcester:
- Lakes & Ponds Program: https://www.worcesterma.gov/sustainability-resilience/recreational-waters
Environmental Toxicology Program:
- About the Program: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/environmental-toxicology-program
- Algae-Blooms: https://www.mass.gov/algae-blooms
Center for Disease Control (CDC):
- General information: https://www.cdc.gov/habs/general.html
- Illness and Symptoms: https://www.cdc.gov/habs/illness-symptoms-freshwater.html
- Avoid Blooms: https://www.cdc.gov/habs/be-aware-habs.html