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RED TIDE PRESENT IN THE GULF

By G. Steve Huard, Public Information Officer

June 30, 2021

Health Alert for Sarasota County 

Sarasota - The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) is notifying the public of elevated levels of red tide detected at area beaches. 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.

Due to elevated counts of red tide from Monday’s beach water samples, DOH-Sarasota will be posting signage tomorrow at several beaches to advise the public that red tide is present.

The beaches with elevated levels of red tide include Nokomis Beach, North Jetty, Venice Beach, Service Club, Venice Fishing Pier, Brohard Park, Caspersen, Manasota Key, and Blind Pass.

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).
  • If outdoors, residents may choose to wear paper filter masks, especially if onshore winds are blowing.

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.

For more information about red tide please see the following websites: 

  • DOH Sarasota weekly sample results are posted at www.ourgulfenvironment.net.
  • FWC is doing twice weekly updates on red tide for the state at https://myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/, including a sampling map that is updated daily.
  • Current beach conditions can be checked at Mote Marine’s website, https://visitbeaches.org/.
  • NOAA has a Gulf of Mexico HAB forecast (updated twice weekly while the bloom persists) that can be found at https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/hab/gomx.html.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.