TAMPA, Fla. — For those planning on ringing in the new year with a trip to the beach, you may want to make sure red tide isn't present.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's daily sample map, specific areas along the coast of the Tampa Bay area show low to medium signs of red tide.
Specific cities like Bradenton, Sarasota and St. Petersburg seem to have the most levels surrounding the coastline.
To look at the full map that is updated daily at 5 p.m., click here.
The Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County announced Wednesday that elevated levels of red tide were detected at area beaches. Affected locations include Longboat Key, Bird Key/Ringling Causeway, North Lido, South Lido, Siesta Key, Turtle and Nokomis.
Those who still decide to go to the beaches with the red tide could experience mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose and throat irritation like a common cold or seasonal sinus allergies.
People with existing breathing problems, such as asthma, might have more severe reactions, according to health officials.
They recommend that people who are sensitive to red tide or experiencing symptoms avoid the beach or go into an air-conditioned space.
The DOH 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 (ensuring that the A/C filter is maintained according to the manufacturer's specifications).
- If outdoors, residents may choose to wear paper filter masks, especially if onshore winds are blowing.
For more information about red tide, click here.