Low red tide levels detected at Navarre Beach Pier

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Low levels of red tide were detected in sampling from the Navarre beach jetty.

A sample taken Tuesday from the pier showed a low amount of a microscopic algae called Karenia brevis that causes red tide, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s daily sampling map.

The Santa Rosa County Florida Health Department on Thursday warned residents and visitors to exercise caution when on the beach or in waters with high red tide concentrations.

People and pets should stay away from affected areas until the blooms move further offshore or disappear.

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Red tide algal blooms can change quickly and stay in one place for months or just days or weeks. The red tide is also patchy, meaning other beaches in the area may not be affected to the same extent.

Over the past week, Karenia brevis has been observed in very low levels in Escambia County in one sample, according to Wednesday’s FWC red tide update. It was also found at very low levels in Okaloosa County in two samples and at background and very low levels in Walton County in two samples.

According to the health department, symptoms of red tide breathing typically include coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes. For most people, the symptoms are temporary and usually go away when the person leaves the area. Wearing a particulate filter mask can lessen the effects, and over-the-counter antihistamines lessen the symptoms.

Pet owners are advised that red tide poses a risk to animals brought to the beach. Red tide can affect animals if they drink contaminated water, lick wet paws or fur, or breathe in marine aerosols.

Residents sensitive to red tide and living in flower-affected beach areas are advised to close windows and run the air conditioner (ensuring that the AC filter is maintained according to manufacturer’s specifications).

Seafood, including shellfish, in restaurants, hotels, grocery stores and markets is safe to eat. Cook shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) thoroughly to avoid exposure to Vibrio vulnificus. Shellfish should not be harvested or consumed in areas with active red tide.

Bathers are encouraged to check conditions before arriving at the beach as conditions change daily.

Call the Florida Poison Centers 24/7 hotline to report illnesses, including health effects from red tide exposure at 1-800-222-1222.

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