SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — There is a red tide advisory in the Tampa Bay area that includes several beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.
According to Dr. Richard Pierce, with Mote Marine Laboratory, the latest NOAA bulletin includes southern Manatee County all the way up to Northern Lee County and farther.
"Some people say after being exposed to that… they have flu-like symptoms after they get home,” Dr. Pierce said.
He advises people to go to visitbeaches.org to check the conditions at 37 different beaches, including information about red tide.
“It’s a natural phenomenon that is enhanced by certain weather and environmental conditions,” Dr. Pierce said.
Dr. Pierce is the Senior Scientist, Ecotoxicology, at Mote Marine Laboratory.
“If the wind is blowing onshore and red tide is there, you’re going to have some very severe respiratory irritation. (For example) stinging eyes and nose. It’s just best to get away (and) find a better place to go,” Dr. Pierce said.
Dr. Pierce said red tide not only impacts your health but also marine life. He said there have been reports of fish kills.
“It’s patchy. One day there may be fish kills and irritation. The next day....maybe not. Right now there are fish kills along …along certain areas,” Dr. Pierce said.
Dr. Pierce warns beachgoers not to collect shellfish during a red tide advisory. He said if you eat a contaminated shellfish, it could cause several abdominal issues. He said eating seafood at local restaurants is safe.