In Florida, red tide is caused by microscopic single-celled algae called Karenia brevis or K. brevis that is present in background conditions throughout the year in the Gulf of Mexico. When natural conditions are right, the organism can form blooms producing a toxin. At high concentrations, the blooms may discolor the waters – sometimes red, light or dark green, brown or clear.
How long will it last?
Red tide blooms can last days, weeks or months and can also change daily due to wind conditions. Onshore winds normally bring it near the shore and offshore winds drive it out to sea.
Can people swim in red tide?
Most people can swim in red tide, but it can cause skin irritation and burning eyes. If you experience irritation, get out and thoroughly wash off with fresh water.
What are symptoms from breathing in red tide toxins?
For most people, coughing, sneezing and teary eyes are temporary symptoms. People with chronic respiratory problems, like asthma and COPD should avoid red tide areas.
Can pets swim in red tide?
If your pets swim in a red tide patch at the beach, a throughout fresh water rise as soon as possible is essential. Don’t let your e play in any sea foam – the foam has been shown to be more toxic than water.
Collier County Red Tide Updates are available on the Red Tide Hotline at 239-252-2591. This is an automated recording with the most recent red tide information for Collier County available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit www.colliergov.net/redtideupdate for more red tide information.