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Red Tide Present in the Gulf

By G. Steve Huard, Public Information Officer

July 13, 2021

Health Alert for Sarasota County  

Sarasota - The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) is reminding 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 has posted signage at area beaches advising the public that red tide is present.

The beaches with elevated levels of red tide include Longboat Key, Bird Key Park/Ringling Causeway, North Lido, Lido Casino, South Lido, Siesta Key, Turtle Beach, 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).

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.