SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Sarasota health officials warned the public Wednesday of elevated levels of red tide detected at area beaches.
Due to elevated counts of red tide detected in Monday’s beach water samples, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County will be posting signage to advise of red tide.
According to the department, red tide can cause mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose, and throat irritation commonly associated with the common cold or seasonal sinus allergies.
The department said individuals with existing breathing problems, such as asthma, may experience more severe effects.
Fortunately, symptoms usually stop when a person leaves the beach or goes indoors. For this reason, health officials are recommending those who are sensitive to red tide or experiencing symptoms avoid the beach or go into an air-conditioned space.
The beaches with elevated levels of red tide include Turtle Beach, Nokomis Beach, North Jetty, Venice Beach, Service Club Park, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Beach, and Caspersen Beach.
The department says the public should not swim around dead fish and should keep pets and livestock away from water, sea foam, and dead sea life. It is also recommended for those with chronic respiratory problems to consider staying away from the beach.
Fishermen should not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish. The department said if fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tap or bottled water and throw out the guts.
Residents living in beach areas who experience respiratory symptoms are advised to close windows and run the air conditioner (ensuring that the A/C filter is maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications).
To report an illness, call the Florida Poison Control Centers toll-free 24/7, including health effects from exposure to red tide, at 1-800-222-1222.