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Cyanobacteria triggers health warning at McKay Lake in Calverton

Because of the confirmed presence of blue-green algae, residents are asked to steer clear of swimming or wading in, and otherwise using, waters of McKay Lake in Calverton, Suffolk County health officials said Tuesday. Pets and children should be kept away from the area, officials said.

Similar precautions should be taken with other locations with blue-green algae -- Fort Pond in Montauk, Wainscott Pond in Wainscott, Mill Pond in Southampton, and Maratooka Lake in Mattituck.

But with "very high" levels in Agawam Lake, Southampton, "extra precautions should be taken to avoid direct exposure to waters," health officials said.

Any water looking "scummy or discolored should be avoided." If contact does occur, rinse off with clean water and see a doctor for symptoms that can include nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; skin, eye or throat irritation; allergic reactions or breathing difficulties, the health department said.

Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, is naturally present in low numbers, but can increase, forming blooms of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red, as well as floating scum, the county health department said in a release.

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