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Red tide spreading to more Sarasota beaches, health department says

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 1:11 PM EDT
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SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - Red tide is spreading to more beaches in Sarasota County, the health department is reporting.

After analyzing Monday’s beach water samples, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County says elevated levels of red tide have been detected at Longboat Key, Bird Key Park/Ringling Causeway, North Lido, Lido Casino, South Lido, Siesta Key, Turtle Beach, Nokomis Beach, North Jetty, Venice Beach, Service Club, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Park, Caspersen, Manasota Key and Blind Pass.

Signs have been posted at beaches advising the public that red tide is present.

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.

Usually symptoms go away when a person leaves the beach or goes indoors. 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.

The department makes the following recommendations:

  • 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).

Florida Poison Control Centers have a toll-free 24/7 Hotline for reporting of illnesses, including health effects from exposure to red tide at 1-888-232-8635.

DOH Sarasota posts weekly sample results at www.ourgulfenvironment.net.

Current beach conditions can be checked at Mote Marine’s website, https://visitbeaches.org/.

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