The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) is reporting elevated levels of red tide along the coast of Sarasota County from Monday's beach water samples, as well as reports of respiratory irritation from beachgoers. The DOH will post signage on Friday at several beaches notifying the public that red tide is present, including Longboat Key, Bird Key Park (Ringling Causeway), North Lido Beach, Lido Casino, South Lido, Siesta Beach, Turtle Beach, Nokomis Beach and North Jetty Beach.
Some people may experience mild respiratory symptoms including as eye, nose and throat irritation similar to cold symptoms; individuals with breathing problems, such as asthma, may experience more severe symptoms. Typically symptoms go away when a person leaves the area or goes indoors, the DOH said in a release. Health officials recommend that people experiencing symptoms caused by red tide to stay away from beach areas or go into an air-conditioned space. If symptoms do not subside, contact your health care provider for evaluation.
The DOH advises the public not to swim around dead fish; to stay away from the beach, as red tide can affect breathing; not to harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish (if fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tapwater and discard guts); keep pets and livestock away from water, seafoam and dead sea life; and, if you live in beach areas, to close the window and run the air conditioner, making sure your filter is properly maintained.
Current beach conditions can be checked at Mote Marine’s website; the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research website also has additional information about the locations where red tide has been found. DOH Sarasota's weekly sample result can be found here.