Red tide present on the beaches of Destin, Fort Walton Beach

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) – The Okaloosa County Florida Department of Health is alerting the public to the presence of red tide at Destin and Fort Walton Beach.

Red tide levels as of October 27, 2021.

The beaches include:
• James Lee Beach
• Shira Beach
• Destiny East
• Beasley Park
• Access to Fort Walton’s Seven Beach (Emerald Promenade Beach Walk)

Some people may experience mild, short-lived respiratory symptoms, such as eye, nose, and throat irritation similar to cold symptoms. People with breathing problems, such as asthma, may experience more severe symptoms. Usually the symptoms disappear when a person leaves the area or goes inside. Health officials recommend people with these symptoms stay away from beaches or go to an air-conditioned space. If symptoms do not go away, call your healthcare provider for an evaluation.

Health officials recommend the following:
• Do not swim near dead fish on these beaches.
• If you have chronic breathing problems, be careful and consider staying away from these beaches, as the red tide can affect your breathing.
• Do not harvest or eat shellfish or distressed or dead fish on these beaches. If the fish is healthy, rinse the fillets with tap or bottled water and discard the entrails.
• Keep pets and livestock away from water, sea foam and dead marine life.
• People living in these beach areas are advised to close the windows and run the air conditioner (ensuring the A/C filter is maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications).
• If you are outdoors, wear filtering paper masks, especially if there are onshore winds.

Florida Poison Control Centers has a toll-free 24/7 hotline for reporting illnesses, including health effects from red tide exposure at 1-800-222-1222. Click on here for more information on Florida Fish and Wildlife’s Red Tide.

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