Kansas Health and Wildlife Departments Announce Start of Harmful Algal Bloom Season

By Trish Svoboda

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) are heralding the start of the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) season.

In Kansas, the official water recreation season, as well as the active operations of the HAB response program, span from April 1 to October 31. During this period, it’s crucial for Kansans to exercise increased caution while participating in water-related activities like swimming, boating, and fishing.

A HAP can resemble foam, scum, or paint that floats on the water, with colors such as blue, bright green, brown, or red. Blooms can form quickly, and if the water looks unusual or there’s decaying algae on the shore, it’s best to avoid contact and keep dogs at a safe distance. The toxins from these blooms can enter the body through ingestion, inhalation of aerosols, or even direct skin contact. The symptoms can vary based on the type of exposure (for instance, direct contact, ingestion, inhalation), and may include conditions like rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache.

Incidents of health issues suspected to be related to HAB, affecting either humans or animals and regardless of the time of year, should immediately be reported at kdhe.ks.gov.

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