PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — A red tide bloom is impacting the Gulf of Mexico and beachgoers along much of The Panhandle.

Officials with the Florida Department of Health in Bay County say the bloom stretches from M.B. Miller Pier, on Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach to Mexico Beach.

“Some people may have mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose, and throat irritation similar to cold symptoms,” officials wrote in a news release. “Some individuals with breathing problems such as asthma might experience more severe symptoms. Usually, symptoms go away when a person leaves the area or goes indoors.”

Health officials recommend that people experiencing these symptoms stay away from beach areas or go into an air-conditioned space. If symptoms do not subside, please contact your health care provider for evaluation.

The Department also recommends:

  • Do not swim around dead fish at this location.
  • If you have chronic respiratory problems, be careful and consider staying away from this location as red tide can affect your breathing.
  • Do not harvest or eat molluscan shellfish and distressed or dead fish from this location. If fish are healthy, rinse fillets with tap or bottled water and throw out the guts.
  • Keep pets and livestock away from water, sea foam and dead sea life.
  • Residents living in beach areas are advised to close windows and run the air conditioner (making sure that the A/C filter is maintained according to manufacturer’s specifications).
  • If outdoors, residents may choose to wear paper filter masks, especially if onshore winds are blowing.