More red tide washing up in Sarasota County

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Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 5:16 pm | Updated: 5:38 pm, Sat Jul 13, 2013.

SARASOTA COUNTY - There is more trouble for Suncoast beaches, as dead fish continue to wash up at nearly every beach in Sarasota County, including Siesta Key.

Many beachgoers are also complaining of respiratory issues. We wish we could report it is going away, but in fact it is affecting more beaches then before.

Dead fish are washing up and now floating in many canals and other waterways. It's causing many who come out to experience repertory issues, and it’s something the health department says can be expected.

Beachgoer: "It gives you a little tickle in your throat. Everyone out here has been coughing a little bit."

Beachgoer: "At first I thought I had a cold. It came on so sudden."

The red tide algae still working its way across the Suncoast. Now hitting places like siesta key. Dead fish and those hacking up a lung the result. "Now we are seeing an increase again at all the beaches in Sarasota County," says Tom Higginbotham.

Tom Higginbotham with the Sarasota County Health Department says the smell may be coming from the fish, but the cough is coming from what's killing them. "Even small waves can cause the toxin to be airborne. When people get exposed to it through their mucous membrane in their nose and in their lungs, you can have an adverse reaction to it."

Something many visitors this time of year are experiencing for the first time. Different people have different reactions. "It is kind of like Hay Fever, burning eyes, runny nose," says Higginbotham.

That's not all. "It is a toxin and if you are breathing a lot of it in it can certainly have an effect on your sinuses and that can cause headaches," says Higginbotham.

Special concerns for those with a history of respiratory illness. Like asthma. "I was the only one coughing yesterday. Everyone else was okay," says one beachgoer.

Dead fish are being found in other places, like canals, inlets and the Intercostal Waterway. The respiratory impacts are felt more at the beach because those particles are more likely to be in the air.

"The best advice I can give people is if they got to the beach and they start feeling the repertory impacts of red tide and it is really bothering them then they need to leave. Listen to your body," says Higginbotham.

Despite it all, green flags still flying and plenty of people willing to put up with it for now.

"I was born and raised here so we definitely have had much worse. It's kind of something you have to deal with. Just like hurricanes. You don't want them but it's something you deal with," says Beachgoer.

According to Mote Marine’s twice-daily beach advisory, there are reports of respiratory issues from slight to moderate at every single beach.

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