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Red tide detected at all Sarasota County beaches

Red tide is caused by high concentrations of aquatic microorganisms, such as protozoans and...
Red tide is caused by high concentrations of aquatic microorganisms, such as protozoans and unicellular algae. It can be very harmful to sea creatures, such as this fish.(WCTV)
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 11:31 AM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Department of Health in Sarasota has issued a health advisory for local beaches due to high levels of red tide.

The beaches with elevated levels of red tide include Longboat Key, Bird Key Park/Ringling Causeway, North Lido, Lido Casino, South Lido, Siesta Beach, Turtle Beach, Nokomis Beach, North Jetty, Venice Beach, Service Club, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Park, Caspersen, Manasota Key and Blind Pass.

Red tide is caused by harmful algae. It can kill wildlife and cause mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms in people.

Symptoms include 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.

Signage has been placed warning visitors.

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.

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