CHESHIRE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Cheshire Board of Health announced Thursday a public health advisory for Cheshire Lake.

Due to the presence of green-blue material floating on the lake of the Hoosac River, the public is being advised to stay away from the lake as it can be dangerous to people and pets. Samples of what is possibly Cyanobacteria bloom have been taken to be tested to determine the toxin levels.

  • Do not swim.
  • Do not swallow water.
  • Keep animals away.
  • Rinse off after contact with water

Images show the material located near the boat launch along the southeast shoreline of the third basin.

Cheshire Board of Health

Blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, occur naturally in lakes and ponds throughout Massachusetts. On any other day, Cyanobacteria cause no apparent harm. However, warmer water temperatures and high nutrient concentrations may induce a fast increase in their abundance. This response is commonly called a “bloom.”

Harmful health effects from the bloom can result through skin contact with the algae-infused water, swallowing the water, and when airborne droplets are also inhaled. Pets are especially prone to health effects. For protection, residents and visitors are advised to avoid contacting water that has a noxious odor, appears green throughout, or has mats, films, or scum accumulating on the surface.

Until further notice avoid these high-risk activities:

  • Any contact with the water including swimming, diving, playing, or wading
  • Drinking, or allowing animals to drink the water
  • Water sports, e.g. water skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, jet skiing, tubing

Other activities that pose a moderate risk to health include:

  • Fish consumption
  • Canoeing
  • Rowing
  • Sailing
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Motorboating

The health outcomes of concern are:

  • Irritations of the skin, eyes, or ears
  • GI problems like vomiting and diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • In extreme cases nerve or liver problems

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