Algae bloom season approaching for Oregon lakes

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- It's about time for algae bloom season to begin on Oregon lakes.

Oregon public health officials say annual monitoring is about to begin this month for algae, the microscopic organisms that grow naturally in the ocean and fresh water.

Most algae are harmless. But one kind, called cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, can produce toxins capable of causing illness in people and animals, including dogs.

People and animals can be exposed in several ways -- through contact while wading or playing in the water, swallowing affected water when swimming, or inhaling water droplets during activities like water-skiing.

Exposure can result in a range of symptoms including skin rash, diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, numbness, dizziness and fainting. The state will issue health advisories when blue-green algae blooms are spotted.