The Florida Department of Health in Collier County has issued a health advisory due to red tide near South Marco Beach.

Beachgoers said they noticed something while they were near the water. Some knew about the red tide, while others did not know why they were coughing. The only thing everyone said was much worse.

Despite the warning from the Ministry of Health, there were many people on the beach of South Mark on Wednesday.

“Everybody’s looking to have a good time,” Bill Olszewski said.

There are signs warning beachgoers of the presence of red tide in the area.

“Before it was, you could definitely smell it, you could see the dead fish,” June Castle said.

Red tide does not affect Marco Island as it has in the past, and holidaymakers say they have experienced much worse.

“Probably two and a half years ago, we went to Bonita. We unpacked and went down to the beach and flipped about five feet as soon as we sat down, like before you even got to the sand, like you couldn’t even breathe,” said Joey Bouchard, who came from Maine.

On South Marco Beach: “A little throat scratch for me and we were down and we were on the beach before. He sneezed and coughed a little,” Bouchard said.

These are some of the symptoms you may experience near red tide.

“I think when you get down on the sand you actually start to get a little tickle in your throat and when you get closer to the water and you’re setting up chairs and umbrellas and stuff, it’s just something that other people who cough notice, usually not as often you hear and so you start to think you’re not surprised why you know and it’s just something that’s been more prevalent I think in the last week or so that I’ve noticed,” Olszewske said.

Water samples taken on Monday showed the presence of red tide. The Florida Department of Health in Collier County is warning people to stay away from the water.

Residents and guests of the city are also advised to take the following precautions:

  • Look for information signs posted on most beaches.
  • Stay away from water and do not swim in waters with dead fish.
  • Those with chronic respiratory problems should be especially careful and stay away
    from this location as the red tide can affect your breathing.
  • Do not harvest or eat shellfish, injured or dead fish from this location. If
    fish caught alive and healthy are safe to eat if they have fillets and guts
    are thrown away. Rinse the fillets with tap or bottled water.
  • Wash skin and clothing with soap and fresh water if you have had recent contact
    with red tide.
  • Keep pets and livestock away from water, sea foam and dead sea life. If your
    pet swims in pools with red tide, wash it as soon as possible.
  • Residents living in beach areas are advised to close windows and ventilate
    air conditioner, making sure the air conditioner filter is maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Residents may wear masks when outside near an affected area, especially if
    winds blow on the shore.

WINK News saw many people scratching their eyes and coughing on the beach on Wednesday.

The Florida Department of Health recommends that you avoid the beach altogether if you have breathing problems.

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