With The Oklahoma Heat Comes Deadly Algae Blooms
When the rains stop coming and the sun bakes the landscape across Oklahoma, one of the most common signs we're dry is the extremely toxic blue-green algae blooms that pop up in our lakes. You definitely want to avoid all of this.
You should know first off, blue-green algae isn't actually algae. It's bacteria that looks like algae so the name just stuck. The bacteria thrive in warm and calm waters when conditions are right. Dry, hot, etc...
The biggest downside to this naturally occurring bacteria is the toxicity it presents to people and pets. Just letting it come into contact with your skin can cause irritation at the least and aggravating rashes that require medical attention. Accidentally ingesting it while swimming, skiing, tubing, or even fishing can lead to serious health hazards.
You know how it is being at the lake... You accidentally get some water in your mouth, you spit it out but the bacteria is already in your body at that point. Just the simple act of removing a fish off of your hook and then naturally touching your face/eyes/nose/mouth can expose you to some potentially horrendous hazards.
If you manage to accidentally ingest the bacteria-laced water, it can mean painful stomach cramps, vomiting, and "severe" diarrhea bad enough to also require medical attention.
While it's easy enough to spot, usually hanging around structures - AKA - docks, rocks, trees, etc... in the calm backwaters, coves, and marinas of a body of water, there's no way to tell if the scummy floating mass is of the toxic until you start to show exposure symptoms hours to days later.
Officials with the US Army Corp of Engineers are already issuing warnings to lake-goers for a few of the corp-managed lakes in Northeast Oklahoma. With our soaring and unbearable hot and dry weather down this way, it's only logical to assume it's happening down here too.
If you're living at the lake this summer, just know the basics of how to identify it. It's not moss and it's not plant material. It floats at the surface like a sheen and smells horrible when disturbed.
Best of luck to you. Stay hydrated homie, you never know if you'll need that moisture for when you get home.