Some beaches in Florida are experiencing a global phenomenon, known as red tide. But it is not a new occurrence for the Sunshine State. It is believed that red tides have been occurring almost every year since the mid-18th century. Due to this, many facts are known about red tides and about what to do when people and animals are affected by it.
What is a red tide?
The name derives from the color of the ocean water. As we all know, normally the ocean looks blue, or varying shades of it, from crystal clear to deep blue. The affected areas change to a ‘danger red’ color. This is actually a convenient way for mother nature to show us that the water has become harmful. The cause of the color change is the result of a population boom of minuscule but poisonous algae.
Thankfully, this change is not permanent. A red tide can remain for up to a few months, but it is temporary. As the algae dilute, dies or moves with the wind patterns, the water will once again become safe to enter.
Which part of Florida is affected?
The main coastal area affected by the red tide is the Gulf Coast. Unfortunately, if you live or are vacationing here, you may be affected. So until the algae have dissipated do not enter the water.
What does the red tide do to animals?
The toxic algae are incredibly harmful to the marine life that live and swim in and around the affected red tide areas. Fox News, recently reported in excess of ‘452 sea turtles, nearly 100 manatees, 11 dolphins and tons of fish’ being killed by this natural occurrence. It is, therefore, best to avoid the beaches at this time, especially with children, as the sights may be quite distressing and unforgettable.
Instead, spend your sunny days at the local hotel pool, explore other natural attractions like national parks and take a day trip to discover Florida outside of the Gulf Coast.
>>If you love animals you may enjoy reading ‘It’s Sea Turtle Nesting Season: How to Get Involved,’ and ‘Vegetarian-Friendly Places to Eat in Tampa.’ <<
How are humans affected by the red tide?
Red tides are also harmful to humans, although not to the same degree as marine life. We become affected by the red tide in various ways depending on exposure.
We can have a reaction to the vapors of the algae and the ocean spray, which can reach the shore, during a light breeze, in a gust of wind and via waves. If you breathe in the harmful air you may experience respiratory issues, such as coughing and sneezing. Your eyes may also start to water. Don’t panic as these symptoms will only last a few hours. If this does happen you should immediately move indoors if possible or further inland, to escape the vapors.
Children and adults who have respiratory conditions, such as asthma, can experience stronger and longer lasting symptoms of the red tide exposure.
The absolute best way to stay safe from the harmful effects of red tide is to avoid the beaches and water altogether. The health of you and your family is very important to us, but we stress that OrlandoEscape is not a professional medical organization and we encourage you to seek medical assistance if you experience any worrisome changes to your health, ALWAYS seek medical advice from trained professionals.
Florida has many attractions for you to enjoy your holiday. So, if you are in a red tide affected area, don’t worry your holiday need not be lost and ruined. For alternative activities in the Floridian Gulf Coast area, check out 10 Free Things to Do in Tampa, 5 Marvelous Things to Do in Sarasota and The Best Things to Do in Fort Myers.