LEE COUNTY, Fla. — As a result of the presence of red tide blooms, the Lee County Department of Health has issued a health alert for the county.
Coming into physical contact with the red tide may result in breathing problems, even for people who don’t have previous respiratory issues.
The toxins associated with red tide may also cause skin irritation, rashes, and burning or sore eyes.
An examination of water collected on November 14 revealed the presence of blooms in the areas around Boca Grande Pass, Captiva Pass, Red Fish Pass, Buck Key near Blind Pass, and Little Bokeelia Island.
Pine Island Sound and South Charlotte Harbor are both also areas where locals should use extreme caution.
The DOH recommends that residents:
- Look for informational signage posted at most beaches.
- Stay away from the water, and do not swim in waters with dead fish.
- Those with chronic respiratory problems should be especially cautious and stay away from this location as red tide can affect your breathing.
- Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish or distressed or dead fish from this location. If caught live and healthy, finfish are safe to eat as long as they are filleted, and the guts are discarded.
- Rinse fillets with tap or bottled water.
- Wash your skin and clothing with soap and fresh water if you have had recent contact with red tide.
- Keep pets and livestock away and out of the water, sea foam and dead sea life. If your pet swims in waters with red tide, wash it as soon as possible.
- 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 near an affected location, residents may choose to wear masks, especially if onshore winds are blowing.