Toxic blue-green algae blooming earlier

As Memorial Day weekend kicked off the unofficial start to summer, the state wants residents to stay away from toxic algae.

Toxic blue-green algae blooms are occurring earlier in the season, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Health. Officials say two toxic blooms have already been reported in May.

“Traditionally, we didn't see these algal blooms until mid-to-late summer,” said Risikat Adesaogum, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “Last year, we had a couple hospitalizations of children, we had a couple dogs die as well. This is a pretty serious issue.”

It can be difficult to spot toxic algae from non-toxic algae, so officials suggest avoiding waters with a pea soup or green paint appearance — or smelly water.

Blue-green algae can cause children to get sick, and can kill dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, rash, difficulty breathing, general weakness, and seizures.