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Blue-green algae levels increase in warmer weather. Here are tips for dog owners

Here are some answers to KVUE viewer questions sent in this week.

AUSTIN, Texas — A lot is happening right now, leaving viewers with questions. KVUE is answering them. 

Viewer question: Is it safe for dogs to swim in Lake Travis with blue/green algae being spotted around lady bird lake?

Answer: The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) has received no reports of problems regarding blue-green algae in Lake Travis, according to a representative with the organization.

"As to whether it is 'safe' to let your dog swim in the lake, we could caution that being the water always carries a risk," the organization stated.

They encouraged people to avoid letting their pets play near algae and to keep a close eye on them while they are in the water. If dog owners are considering taking their pet to Lady Bird Lake, the Austin Watershed Protection Department said blue-green algae is at an "increased risk" due to the warmer weather.


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Per their website, which has an extensive analysis of the algae, pet owners should avoid areas with stagnant, warm water, or anywhere with visible algae and owners should also wash their dog after swimming in the water. For more information and tips visit the department's website

Viewer question: There is a lot of confusion on bulk trash pick-up. 311 said that it is suspended due to COVID-19. 311 Also said that if you received a notice in the mail, it's still happening. Which is it?

Answer: The short answer is both are correct. Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) had resumed bulk trash pick-up for a period of three weeks. However, as stated on their website, they recently had to suspend this service until further notice to help with essential weekly collections of regular trash, recycling and compost.

However, ARR will still pick up bulk trash for any individual who received a notification post-card for July 6 to July 24. The updated collection schedule can be viewed using the "My Collection Schedule" tool on ARR's website or by downloading the Austin Recycles App.  

Viewer question: Can face shields can be used instead of face masks, especially for people that suffer from asthma and anxiety, etc.? 

Answer: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is not known if face shields provide any benefit as a way to protect others from spray coming from the mouth or nose. The CDC does not recommend using face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings. 

However, if face shields are used without a mask, they should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the chin, the CDC stated. Disposable face shields should only be used one time, and reusable ones should be disinfected after each use. 


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While face shields are not perfect, some studies found the shields can have beneficial uses. One study found a face shield without additional personal protective equipment can provide some benefit in the short term. However, over time, it found smaller aerosolized droplets can get around the mask and inhaled by another individual.

A 2016 study found that pairing a face shield with another barrier can provide additional protection. The CDC does not recommend using plastic face shields on newborns and infants. 

To send KVUE questions you want to be answered, text 512-459-9442. Do not call this number. It will not work.

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