The weather is hot and the beach is calling, but thanks to another dreaded red tide bloom, you may want to think twice before heading to the shore.
Red tide is an event that occurs when algae—a plant-like organism—grows out of control. The name ‘red tide’ comes from the overgrown algae that can cause the water to change color. Some of the algae that cause a red tide produce powerful toxins, which can kill fish, shellfish, mammals, and birds. Dead fish wash up along the shore, and, apart from being extremely smelly and unsightly, it can be harmful to birds who try to feed on them.
Red tide can also cause respiratory problems in humans. For people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, red tide can cause serious illness. And according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), even the general public may experience intense symptoms of respiratory irritations when the blooms are extreme.
Recent blooms that affected local beaches and ruined many weekend plans have improved for the moment. Experts say this current bloom is patchy and moving through quickly, so we may have a slight respite from it.
Luckily, there are lots of resources that you can use to know if there’s red tide before your next beach trip.
Before you go:
Visit St. Pete Clearwater has a page on its website where you can check the conditions at any Pinellas County beach.
To learn more about red tide and its health and environmental impacts, click here.