Nova Scotians should be mindful of blue-green algae blooms that may appear in rivers and lakes across the province during warm weather. Also known as pond scum, blue-green algae can be identified by its blueish green, grassy or soupy appearance on the water’s surface, and it may also produce a distinct odour. Although many forms of blue-green algae are harmless, some produce toxins which may pose a health risk for humans and animals. People should not swim in, drink from, or eat fish from water sources where the algae is present. Water contaminated with algae should not be used to prepare or cook food, and boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins. Algae blooms can occur naturally in the right conditions, or be caused by human activities that add nutrients to lakes or rivers. “The risk to health is fairly low, but if you develop symptoms that persist, you should consult a physician,” said Dr. Richard Gould, medical officer of health. If water containing algae is swallowed, symptoms may include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. Direct contact with skin from swimming may cause skin, nose, throat or eye irritations. Nova Scotians who suspect an algae bloom can report it to the provincial Department of Environment. For more information, visit the departments of Environment and Health and Wellness web sites at www.gov.ns.ca/nse/water/docs/BlueGreenAlgae.pdf and www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/environmental/ .
PAUL O’CONNELL HAS been pencilled in for a return to competitive action for Munster next Tuesday.The second-row has responded well to back surgery he underwent in late December and is set to play some part in Munster A’s interprovincial clash with Leinster.A statement from the province reads, “It is thought that O’Connell who has made steady progress in his recovery from a lower back injury and returns ahead of schedule, will take some part at some stage in Tuesday’s game.”The A game will be held at the University of Limerick Bowl and there is no admission charge.O’Connell last played for Munster in the Heineken Cup during a 33-0 home win over Edinburgh at Thomond Park. He has only started two games for the province this season.If he makes it through the interpro game, the lock will hope to feature in at least one Pro12 game before the Heineken Cup quarter finals.Munster are due to face Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop on 7 April.O’Connell still has ambitions of playing on his third British & Irish Lions tour but will need a Munster cup run to press his touring credentials.Paddy Jackson declared fit to start against France