FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — The Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County is alerting the public to the presence of red tide at beaches in Destin and Fort Walton Beach.
The beaches include:
• James Lee Beach
• Shirah Beach
• Destin East
• Beasley Park
• Fort Walton Beach Access Seven (Emerald Promenade Beachwalk)
Some people can have mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose and throat irritation similar to cold symptoms. People with breathing problems, such as asthma, might experience more severe symptoms. Usually, symptoms 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, call your health care provider for evaluation.
Health officials recommend the following:
• Do not swim around dead fish at these beaches.
• If you have chronic respiratory problems, be careful and consider staying away from those beaches, as red tide can affect your breathing.
• Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish from these beaches. If fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tap or bottled water and throw out the guts.
• Keep pets and livestock away from water, seafoam and dead sea life.
• People living in these beach areas are advised to close windows and run the air conditioner (making sure that the A/C filter is maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications).
• If outdoors, 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. Click here for more information about red tide from the Florida Fish and Wildlife.