The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) is notifying the public of a Red Tide bloom currently found along some Pinellas’ coastal beaches. 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. Usually, symptoms go away when a person leaves the area or goes indoors.
Health officials recommend that people experiencing these symptoms stay away from beach areas or go into an air-conditioned space. If symptoms do not subside, please contact your health care provider for evaluation.
DOH-Pinellas recommends these steps:
Do not swim around dead fish.
If you have chronic respiratory problems, be careful and consider staying away from locations with red tide as it can affect your breathing.
Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish from affected locations. If fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tap or bottled water and throw out the guts.
Keep pets away from water, sea foam and dead sea life.
Residents living in beach areas 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 information about Red Tide and links to other resources, visit https://pinellas.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/environmental-health/water-programs/red-tide/index.html.
Please visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research website for additional information on the locations where Red Tide has been found: myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/.