Recreational use health advisory warnings will be issued if people need to stay out of affected waters to avoid illness. This will occur if a cyanobacteria bloom is found and lab results show cyanotoxin levels over Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s and the EPA’s recreational use advisory levels.
Recreational use health advisories are posted at primary access points and shared on the Grand County website: www.co.grand.co.us/HCB.
Exposure to cyanotoxins can be serious and result in a range of symptoms. This includes:
Contact with a bloom can cause a puffy, red rash. Children and people with weakened immune systems are most vulnerable to illness.
Pets are at risk, too
Due to their size and activity level, dogs are very vulnerable to the effects of cyanotoxins. Dogs can be exposed through:
- Drinking affected water
- Eating cells from the bloom
- Licking cells off rocks, and
- Licking their fur after exposure
Symptoms can occur very quickly and owners of dogs exhibiting abnormal behavior after being in the water should call a veterinarian immediately.
When to avoid water contact
Because only a fraction of Grand County’s fresh waters is visually monitored and sampled, the public can’t be notified about all harmful cyanobacterial blooms. Therefore, the public should look for certain conditions before entering the water to stay safe and healthy. It is best to stay out of an area if the water smells bad or looks:
- Foamy, scummy, thick like paint, and
- Pea-green, blue-green, or brownish-red in color
Local agencies will alert the public about blooms and cyanotoxins to protect public health. For more information and resources on reporting a potential bloom, please visit www.co.grand.co.us/HCB.