Red tide blooms are still impacting Bay-area beaches, and the stench is enough to keep most people out of the water. But some swimmers are diving right in, depending on the conditions.
What You Need To Know
- A doctor urges people to stay out of water with red tide
- The toxins can trigger irritation and serious allergic reactions
- Check FWC’s daily red tide map
The Aquino family was hoping to take a dip along beautiful Florida beaches while visiting from Seattle. They were not expecting to see dead fish floating in the surf.
"It’s kind of shocking for the kids,” Nikos Aquino said.
The family won't be jumping in the water because of the red tide.
"We can’t swim. We want to experience the Gulf of Mexico," Aquino said.
Others aren’t being turned away by the toxic tide.
Doctor John Sinnott, Chairman of Internal Medicine at USF Health, suggests checking the water before going for a swim.
"If there's dead fish, it's red tide and it's a high concentration. And you don't want to be swimming in that," he said.
The daily Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission red tide map still shows high concentrations along parts of Pinellas and Manatee Counties.
Dr. Sinnott says people can have different reactions to the toxins.
"Most people, not everybody, but most will get very irritated eyes. They’ll begin coughing, have a runny nose, and if they have asthma or chronic lung disease, [it] will really act up,” said Dr. Sinnott. “You can get a sore throat from the toxin, and you can also get quite a rash."
He says headaches are also a possible reaction.
Meanwhile, back at the beach…
"We’re making the best of it," Aquino said.
Dr. Sinnott and the Florida Department of Health suggest antihistamines if you find yourself needing some relief from an allergic reaction. If you experience skin irritation in the water, rinse thoroughly with fresh water.