FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Lee County’s Department of Health is notifying the public of a red tide bloom near Lover's Key State Park.
The red tide may result in some mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms including eye, nose, and throat irritation, which are like common cold symptoms. The DOH says some people with breathing problems, such as asthma might experience more severe symptoms. The symptoms will usually go away when a person leaves the area or goes inside.
Health officials recommend that if you are experiencing these symptoms, you should stay away from beach areas or go into an air-conditioned space. If the symptoms do not subside, please contact your health care provider for evaluation.
To stay safe, the department also recommends the following:
- 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 insides.
- 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 and ensure the air conditioning filter is maintained according to manufacturer's specifications.
- If you are outdoors, you have the option 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 1-800-222-1222.
For additional information on locations where red tide has been found, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research website.