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HEALTH ALERT: Red tide present at Fort Myers Beach

Posted at 6:20 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 21:13:09-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Lee County (DOH-Lee) is notifying the public of a red tide bloom near Fort Myers Beach (Beach Access 13).

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.

Usually, symptoms go away when a person leaves the area or goes indoors. Health officials recommend that people experiencing these symptoms stay away from beach areas or go into an air-conditioned space. If symptoms do not subside, please contact your health care provider for evaluation.

The Department recommends that you:

· 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 guts.
  • Keep pets and livestock away from water, seafoam 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 1-800-222-1222.
Please visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research website for additional information on the locations where red tide has been found: myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/ .