Expert explains how weather impacts the spread of red tide
Recently, the algae was pushed closer to shore in the Tampa Bay area killing several fish.
PANAMA CITY — For the second time in less than a week, the Florida Department of Health has issued an advisory notifying the public of a red tide bloom in Bay County.
According to a news release from DOH-Bay officials, beaches along the Gulf of Mexico from the M.B. Miller Pier, 12213 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach to Mexico Beach are experiencing the presence of a red tide algae bloom at this time.
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, the release said.
According to health officials, symptoms usually go away once a person leaves the area or goes indoors. Health officials also recommend that people experiencing these symptoms stay away from beach areas or go into an air-conditioned space. If symptoms do not subside, you should contact your health care provider for evaluation.
The Department recommends that you:
- Do not swim around dead fish at these locations.
- If you have chronic respiratory problems, be careful and consider staying away from these locations as red tide can affect your breathing.
- Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish from these locations. 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 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.
To stay up to date on where red tide has been found, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research website at myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/.