As summer arrives and the days get hotter, the beach becomes a popular place to spend a sunny afternoon.  Unfortunately, we currently have one less beach to visit in West Michigan.  On Monday, the Ottawa County Health Department issued a No Body Contact Advisory for Dunton Park Beach on Lake Macatawa. 

Visitors are still welcome at Dunton Park Beach, but should not touch the water.  The advisory is due to an algal bloom.

An algal bloom is characterized by a pea green tint to  the water, often described as having the consistency of paint or having scum  floating on the surface. Blue green algae naturally occur in the environment.  The severity of a bloom will fluctuate over the course of a day,  depending on wind speed, direction and light intensity.  Exposure of the  algae on the skin can cause a rash, hives, or skin blisters.  Swallowing  water can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Inhaling water droplets can  cause runny eyes and nose, a sore throat, asthma-like symptoms, or allergic  reactions.

The No Body Contact Advisory is in effect until further notice.  Let's play it safe for now and hope Dunton Park Beach will be cleared for activity again soon.