Health department says red tide in Gulf near Boca Grande

LEE COUNTY

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County (DOH-Lee) issued a red tide recommendation near Boca Grande on Friday.

According to DOH-Lee, some people may experience mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms, such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, that are similar to cold symptoms due to the red tide present in the water. Some people with breathing problems, such as asthma, may experience more severe symptoms.

Usually symptoms go away when a person leaves the area or goes inside. Health officials recommend people who have these symptoms stay away from beach areas or go to an air-conditioned room. If symptoms do not go away, it is recommended that you contact your doctor for evaluation.

DOH Lee tips

  • Do not swim around dead fish at this point
  • If you have chronic breathing problems, be careful and consider staying away from this place as a red tide can affect your breathing

DOH-Lee warns the public: Do not harvest or eat mollusc shellfish and distressed or dead fish from the affected area at this time. When fish are healthy, rinse the fillets with tap or bottled water and discard the entrails.

Also, keep pets and livestock away from water, sea foam, and Dead Sea life.

People who live in beach areas are advised to close their windows and operate the air conditioning (ensure that the air conditioning filter is maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions).

Residents can wear paper filter masks outdoors, especially when there is onshore wind.

Florida Poison Control Centers have a toll-free 24/7 hotline for reporting illnesses, including health effects from red tide exposure, at 1-800-222-1222.

For more information on places where red tide has been found, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research website.

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