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Wind directions can bring red tide toxins inland

Posted at 12:47 AM, Aug 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-01 00:53:13-04

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA — When people think of health effects regarding red tide, they immediately think they have to be close to the action, but winds can carry the toxic air potentially 15 miles.

The red tide bloom near Boca Grande Beach could affect the air quality in Southwest Florida.

So, how do you protect yourself?

Air quality expert, George Negron, said staying inside with the windows closed.

“Keeping your home as airtight as possible. Running fans or air purifiers or something that can reclamate and clean that air,” Negron said.

He said the effects range from short-term symptoms that can mimic allergies to long-term respiratory issues.

Those same symptoms can be seen in your furry friends. Pets have similar airways as humans and can get sick as well.

“They can also contract these side effects of it, so as cautious as we are for ourselves, we should also be extra cautious for our pets,” he said.

Negron urges people to limit prolonged time outside when red tide is affecting air quality. You are safe to go outside for short periods of time, he said.

“We have to go around as humans. We know we are going to have to walk our pets and go around. Short terms exposures are okay because you are going to go back into your home. You are going back indoors and let that body reset and let yourself do that, so short burst periods of time it is more than fine,” Negron said.

He said to monitor the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s red tide map.

If you see red tide levels near you, turn on your air purifier and stay inside.