Red tide is spreading among most of Bay County shorelines

Bay County

BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — If you are starting to feel cold-like symptoms coming on, you might not actually be sick because red tide is back.

Beachgoers in Panama City Beach said symptoms feel stronger than ever this week. Red tide brings with it sneezing and coughing for some.

“I didn’t really smell it, but I had a runny nose,” visitor Michele Sage said.

That was the reaction for many near Panama City Beaches the past few days due to Gulf sampling showing high levels of red tide blooms.

County officials said this has been some of the highest levels seen all month. Red discoloration in the water is a telltale sign, which can be spotted right near the shoreline.

“The samples that they took did show elevated levels pretty much from MB Miller Pier out in Panama City Beach down to Mexico Beach,” Bay County Health Department Public Information Officer Joe Scully said.

Health officials said the majority of the shoreline is covered by this algae bloom.

They said in order to protect yourself, avoid being in these areas for a prolonged time. Red tide may cause some reactions, especially for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma.

“For me personally, I will have an itchy throat and a little bit of a cough,” Scully said.

Not only will it bring on those cold-like symptoms, but fish are also affected.

“It was a little bit interesting, we went for a walk late last night and this one loves the water and this one typically does but he kept seeing these dead fish washing up,” Sage, who worries about whether the beach is safe for her children after seeing bones wash ashore, said.

Scully said there is no saying when the shoreline will be rid of the red tide, but cold fronts do help to push it away.

Testing from this week was taken on Friday, October 15. Scully urges all residents to keep up to date on these weekly results to ensure you protect yourself from experiencing any negative effects. In order to do so, visit the Bay Health Department website.

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