The public are being warned to stay clear of potentially hazardous green-blue algae which can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and skin rashes.
NHS Fife has issued the advice for people to be on the look out for the algae, which is found in waterways and is also known as Cyanobacteria, as the public continues to take outdoor exercise during the continuing coronavirus crisis.
The algae,which develops naturally in lochs, ponds, reservoirs, rivers and in the sea, is a common seasonal occurrence in waters which in most cases have been affected by agricultural, domestic or industrial discharges.
In still waters, the algae can multiply during the summer to such an extent that they discolour the water making it appear green, blue-green or greenish brown. Shoreline mats of blue-green algae may appear and are usually coloured brown to black. Sometimes a scum may form on the surface of the water.
The algae can affect both humans and animals and who accidentally swallow affected water may suffer skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, or pains in muscles and joints.
A spokesman for NHS Fife said the symptoms are usually mild could be more severe in some cases.
They added: “It is important to reinforce that we must all follow national guidance to stay at home and only leave for essential food, medical care, work, or local exercise.
“However, we acknowledge that Fife has many bodies of water near to residential areas and people are using their exercise time to walk their dogs and enjoy the sunshine.
“The risk posed by blue-green algae to small animals like dogs is significant over the summer months as they tend to drink more water in the heat and may eat shoreline algal crusts.
“Where applicable, dog owners should prevent their pets from coming into contact with water which could be affected.”
People are also being warned not to eat fish caught in waters affected by the algae and should also not be fed to pets.
Lochs, reservoirs, ponds and other waterways across the Kingdom are now being monitored for signs of the hazardous algae and where found warning notices are being erected.
The public are also being urged to report algae sightings of algae via the Fife Council website at www.fife.gov.uk or by phone on 03451 550022.