BURLINGTON — As Independence Day approaches, the state is reminding people to watch out for cyanobacteria blooms when they go swimming this summer.

Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae as they are often called, are microorganisms that occur naturally in fresh water and can multiply greatly under certain conditions, particularly when the water is warm. These appear as blooms on the water’s surface that collect along shorelines and produce toxins harmful to people and pets. Swimming or wading through a bloom can lead to skin rash, diarrhea, sore throat, stomach problems, and other more serious problems.

According to the Department of Health, blooms are green or blue-green in color and make the water resemble pea soup or spilled paint, though other colors and appearances are possible.

The state has a video of a bloom uploaded to healthvermont.gov/cyanobacteria so people can identify them when spotted.

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