Red tide may affect weekend beach plans in Sarasota County

Sarasota County

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — A new health warning may affect your weekend beach plans if you live in Sarasota County.

Officials have detected low levels of red tide in the waters around the area. Officials said this is not related to the Piney Point leak.

On Thursday night, the health department warned those in search of sun and sand to beware of red tide. Beachgoers may see signs about this pop up on Friday.

Red tide was found along nine beaches, including Siesta Beach, Nokomis Beach and Longboat Key.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, red tide is a harmful algal bloom that in large quantities, can give water a brown or red hue.

Health officials warn red tide can lead to eye, nose, and throat irritation and even breathing problems.

Red tide has come early this year. It usually blooms closer to August, according to the FWC.

Although there is a low concentration of red tide, health officials say it may still cause health problems.

“They might feel a little tickle in the back of their throats, coughing, it causes respiratory issues, so anybody with respiratory issues chronically would want to know that,” said Steve Huard with the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota.

“I read about it before we came, but no, not at all. We’ve been in the water a couple of days and not having any issues whatsoever,” said Barbara Bush who was visiting from Indiana.

Some health officials hope mother nature will naturally push the algae offshore with strong winds and “put the red to bed.”

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