CHOWAN COUNTY, N.C. — When the weather's this warm, it's normal for people and pets alike to cool off with a swim, but North Carolina health officials are sending a warning about toxic algae blooming in rivers, lakes, and ponds.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says they spotted the "widespread" algae blooms as close as the Chowan River.

In Wilmington, three dogs died after their owner took them for a swim in a contaminated pond.

Melissa Martin says they began having seizures within minutes and died later that night.

RELATED: N.C. woman warns about blue-green algae after 3 dogs die hours after exposure

The Department says algae blooms have been reported at Arrowhead Beach near Edenton, as well as other spots along the Chowan River and Albemarle Sound.

The department says the "widespread" algae blooms have lingered in the area since May.

Although there are no reports of adverse health effects in people, experts are advising people to:

  • Keep children and pets away from water that appears bright green, blue, discolored or scummy.
  • If you come into contact with affected water, wash thoroughly with soap and clean water.
  • Use clean water to rinse off pets that may have come into contact with affected water.
  • If your child appears ill after being in the water, seek medical care immediately.
  • If your pet appears to stumble, stagger or collapse after being near affected water, seek veterinary care immediately.

RELATED: Couple shares warning on toxic algae after dog dies less than an hour after visit to lake