Health alert issued for Longboat Key, Anna Maria Island due to red tide bloom

Local News

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Department of Health in Manatee County (DOH-Manatee) is notifying the public of a red tide bloom in the county.

According to DOH-Manatee, the bloom is happening near Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island.

Samples collected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission indicate low levels of red tide.

“Some people may have mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose and throat irritation similar to cold symptoms. Some individuals with breathing problems, such as asthma, might experience more severe symptoms,” DOH-Manatee said in a press release.

Jim Anastasia has been a scuba instructor for years he tells 8 On Your Side he knows what to do when red tide threatens.

“If you hear about it, if it’s explained on the press and the t.v. that it’s out there you should really take heed,” Anastasia said.

Jim Malfese works at the Rod and Reel Pier on the north end of Anna Maria Island. He says while it’s not bad here now — he knows what red tide could do to business

 “If it’s really, really bad, people can’t breath and it will shut it down,” Malfese said.

Health officials recommend people with symptoms stay away from beach areas or go inside to an air-conditioned space.

“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,” the release said.

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