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Red tide may cause respiratory issues on Florida Gulf Coast

Photo: Arwin Neil Baichoo
Photo: Arwin Neil Baichoo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Health officials say red tide could cause people along certain parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast to experience respiratory irritation.

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County on Sunday recommended that anyone with chronic respiratory problems consider staying away from areas experiencing red tide.

They also advise people not to swim around dead fish, and to keep pets away from water, sea foam and dead marine life.

The National Weather Service in Tampa issued a beach hazards statement Saturday evening that cautioned red tide can cause coughing, sneezing and tears in the eyes. The symptoms can be worse for people with asthma, emphysema or other chronic lung diseases.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.