The Florida Department of Health (DOH) in Manatee County is notifying the public of a health alert along their beaches near Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island due to red tide. Samples collected by the Florida Wildlife Commission indicate low levels of red tide.
What does this mean for beachgoers?
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.
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.
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.
The DOH recommends that you:
- Do not swim around dead fish at this location.
- If you have chronic respiratory problems, be careful and consider staying away from this location as red tide can affect your breathing.
- Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish from this location. If fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tap or bottled water and throw out the guts.