Red Tide in South Florida

Red Tide has affected the beaches from Manatee to Collier Counties in SW Florida since December. Highest concentrations this month are in Sarasota and Lee Counties.

According to myfwc.com, Red Tide is “a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plant-like organism).”  Karenia brevis  It can occur anywhere around the Gulf of Mexico; other algae species can cause red tide in other parts of the world. Red tide can be reddish, green, purple or brown.

This organism produces a toxin that kills marine animals so you’ll see potentially large fill kills washing up on the beach.  Shellfish (oysters and clams) can become infected and pass the toxins onto humans that consume them.   Scientists monitor the ocean for this algae to provide shellfish warnings. Red tide also causes respiratory irritation; most people are affected because the toxin becomes air born on wind currents after a wave crash scatters an algae bloom.

Be careful if you have respiratory issues and you’re visiting or residing in the affected areas.  I didn’t encounter a red tide bloom when I lived in Sarasota.  One had occurred before I moved there; now this one.  I have heard stories from my friends who have allergies and asthma.  Most people have watery eyes, nasal issues, and coughing.  Red tide can come and go quickly or last a long while.  I’m praying for my friends that it goes quickly.

I’d love to hear from you about how it’s going there.  Please write.

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