SARASOTA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – A red tide health threat has been identified in Sarasota according to the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County.

Sarasota is notifying the public of elevated levels of red tide along the coast of Sarasota County. 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.

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Symptoms typically dissipate when a person leaves the area or goes indoors. Health officials recommend that people experiencing symptoms caused by red tide to stay away from beach areas or occupy an air-conditioned space. If symptoms do not subside, please contact your health care provider for evaluation.

Due to elevated counts of red tide from beach water samples taken on Monday, April 12 as well as reports of respiratory irritation, health officials will be posting signage at several beaches to advise the public that red tide is present.

The affected beaches include:

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  • Longboat Key
  • Bird Key Park (Ringling Causeway)
  • North Lido Beach
  • Lido Casino
  • South Lido
  • Siesta Beach
  • Turtle Beach
  • Nokomis Beach
  • North Jetty Beach

The DOH recommends that you:

  • Do not swim around dead fish.
  • If you have chronic respiratory problems, consider staying away from the beach as red tide can affect your breathing.
  • Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish. If fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tap or bottled water and discard the organs.
  • 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 (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 1-888-232-8635.

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/.

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