Social Media Toolkit

Harmful Algae and Cyanobacteria Awareness

CDC has developed sample social media messages and graphics for health departments, environmental health professionals, and the public to use on their social media channels to increase awareness about harmful algae and cyanobacteria (sometimes called blue-green algae).

The messages focus on the following topics:

  • Get the Facts About Harmful Algae and Cyanobacteria
  • Learn the Signs of Illness
  • Protect Your Pets and Livestock
  • Understand the Environmental Connection
  • Take Steps to Prevent Illness
Green algae washing up on a shoreline

Interested in learning about harmful algae and cyanobacteria from CDC? Follow us on Twitter at @CDCEnvironment and @CDC_NCEZID.

Sample Social Media Posts

Help spread the word about harmful algae and cyanobacteria by sharing the messages below on social media.

Get the Facts About Harmful Algae and Cyanobacteria

  • Harmful algae and cyanobacteria can make toxins that hurt people, animals, and the environment. Learn what they are and how to avoid them. https://bit.ly/3zjDLe6external icon
  • Do you know how to spot a bloom of harmful algae or cyanobacteria? Blooms can look like foam or scum on the surface of water. They can also be different colors, like green, blue, red, or brown. Don’t go into water with a harmful bloom. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3zjDLe6external icon
  • Does the water look scummy or discolored, or smell like rotting plants? These could be signs of harmful algae or cyanobacteria, which can harm you and your pets. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3zjDLe6external icon
  • Blooms of harmful algae and cyanobacteria occur across the world. Harmful algae and cyanobacteria can grow in fresh water, saltwater, and brackish water (a mixture of fresh and salt water). Learn more: https://bit.ly/3wooAyNexternal icon

 Learn the Signs of Illness

  • Toxins from harmful algae or cyanobacteria can make people sick if they swallow, touch, or breathe in droplets from contaminated water. Learn the common signs and symptoms: https://bit.ly/3gkNTuMexternal icon
  • Eating fish or shellfish from water with a harmful algal bloom can make you sick. Check for local advisories before fishing or collecting shellfish. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3cyxX6Vexternal icon
  • Breathing in airborne droplets or mist that contain toxins from red tides in the Gulf of Mexico can cause your eyes to burn or make you cough and sneeze. Check for red tide advisories from your state or local government before visiting the ocean or coast. https://bit.ly/3cyxX6Vexternal icon

Protect Your Pets and Livestock

  • Do not let your pets swim in, play in, or drink water that looks discolored or has foam or scum on the surface. These could be signs of harmful algae or cyanobacteria, which can be deadly for pets. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3gllTHjexternal icon
  • If your pet gets into scummy or discolored water, rinse them off with tap water right away and don’t let them lick their fur. Algal and cyanobacterial toxins could be in the water. Call a vet right away if your pet seems sick. More info: https://bit.ly/3gllTHjexternal icon
  • Do you own livestock, such as cows or sheep? Keep livestock away from scummy or discolored water. Water that contains cyanobacterial toxins can be deadly for animals. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3gllTHjexternal icon
  • Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) can be deadly for dogs if they swallow contaminated water. When visiting lakes and streams, keep your pets safe by bringing plenty of water for them to drink and not letting them eat algae. More tips: https://bit.ly/2TUNTdkexternal icon

Understand the Environmental Connection

  • Did you know? Climate change can increase the growth of harmful algae and cyanobacteria in fresh, salt, and brackish water. It can make blooms occur more often and be more severe. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3wooAyNexternal icon
  • Harmful algae and cyanobacteria are a One Health issue that affects people, animals, and the environment. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3wooAyNexternal icon

Take Steps to Prevent Illness

  • Headed to the lake or beach this weekend? Look for swimming advisories and water quality notices online or near the water before visiting. https://bit.ly/3zjEwnsexternal icon
  • Before swimming, boating, or fishing, learn tips to help you spot harmful algae and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Avoid getting sick by staying out of water with these signs: https://bit.ly/3gaBzhOexternal icon
  • When in doubt, stay out! You can’t tell for sure if an algal or cyanobacterial bloom is harmful just by looking at it. Protect yourself and your pets by not swimming in bodies of water that smell bad or look discolored. https://bit.ly/3gllTHjexternal icon
  • Check for and follow local shellfish and fish advisories before eating any fish or shellfish you collect yourself. Algal and cyanobacterial toxins in fish or shellfish have no taste or odor. https://bit.ly/3gllTHjexternal icon
Health Promotion Materials

You can use the materials below to educate your partners and the public about harmful algae and cyanobacteria. You can also order FREE printed materials from CDC-INFO On Demand.

Page last reviewed: August 5, 2021