How to avoid feeling sick from red tide

If you’re experiencing cold-like symptoms after being in locations where red tide has been detected you’re not alone. According to the Pinellas County Department of Health, people in the area may experience mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose, and throat irritation similar to cold symptoms due to a red tide bloom along Pinellas coastal beaches.  Some individuals with breathing problems such as asthma may have more severe symptoms. 

Health officials say symptoms typically go away when a person leaves the area or goes indoors and advise anyone experiencing issues to stay away from the beaches and call their doctor if symptoms persist. 

To avoid feeling ill, the Pinellas County Department of Health recommends:

  • Not swimming around dead fish
  • Staying away from areas with red tide if experiencing symptoms
  • Not harvesting or eating molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish from the impacted area
  • Rinsing healthy fish fillets with tap water and throwing out the guts
  • Keeping pets away from water, seafoam and dead sea life
  • Closing windows and running the air conditioner if living nearby the impacted area
  • Wearing paper filter masks outdoors, especially if winds are blowing 

RELATED The sight and smell of dead fish around Tampa Bay is hard to miss

Florida Poison Control Centers have a toll-free 24/7 Hotline for reporting illnesses, including health effects from exposure to red tide at 1-888-232-8635.

LINK: For information about Red Tide and links to other resources, visit

LINK: For more information on locations where red tide has been found visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research website

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