A photo taken during 2018's devastating red tide bloom.

A photo taken during 2018's devastating red tide bloom.

The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) reported elevated levels of red tide detected at Nokomis Beach, North Jetty, Venice Beach, Service Club, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Park, Caspersen, Manasota Key and Blind Pass.

Some people may have mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose, and throat irritation like those associated with the common cold or seasonal sinus allergies. Some individuals with existing breathing problems such as asthma might experience more severe effects. Symptoms usually go away when a person leaves the beach or goes indoors; however, health officials recommend that people who are sensitive to red tide or experiencing symptoms avoid the beach or go into an air-conditioned space. If symptoms do not subside, contact your health care provider for evaluation.

Due to elevated counts of red tide from Monday’s beach water samples, DOH-Sarasota will be posting signage tomorrow at the affected beaches to advise the public that red tide is present.

The health department makes the following recommendations about the presence of red tide:

  • Do not swim around dead fish.
  • If you have chronic respiratory problems, consider staying away from the beach as red tide can affect your breathing.
  • Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish. If fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tap or bottled water and throw out the guts.
  • Keep pets and livestock away from water, sea foam, and dead sea life.
  • Residents living in beach areas who experience respiratory symptoms are advised to close windows and run the air conditioner (making sure that the A/C filter is maintained according to manufacturer's specifications).
  • If outdoors, residents may choose to wear paper filter masks, especially if onshore winds are blowing.

To report illness, including health effects from exposure to red tide, residents can also call Florida Poison Control Centers at (888 232-8635. The DOH Sarasota's weekly sample results can be viewed here; the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is also providing twice-weekly updates on red tide throughout the state here. Current beach conditions can be viewed on Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium's website here, and more information is also available through NOAA here.

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