Red tide spotted at beaches in Destin and Fort Walton Beach
FORT WALTON BEACH — A red tide bloom is impacting beaches in Destin and Fort Walton Beach, according to the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County.
Destin areas impacted by the bloom include James Lee Park and the Shirah public beach access.
The impacted areas of Fort Walton Beach are John Beasley Park and Fort Walton Beach Access Seven (Emerald Promenade Beachwalk) on Okaloosa Island.
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.
Symptoms typically go away when a person leaves the area or goes indoors. Health officials recommend that people experiencing these symptoms stay away from beach areas or go into an air-conditioned space.
If symptoms do not subside, please contact your health care provider for evaluation.
The Department of Health recommends:
- That people do not swim around dead fish at theses location.
- That people with chronic respiratory problems be careful and consider staying away from these locations, as red tide can affect your breathing.
- That people do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish from this location. If fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tap or bottled water and throw out the guts.
- Keeping 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 1-800-222-1222.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Research website for additional information on the
locations where red tide has been found: myfwc.com/research/redtide/statewide/.