Respiratory and Skin Irritation
Researchers Study the Effects of Inhaling Red Tide Toxins on Lung Function
One of the most frequent symptoms people experience during a Florida red tide is respiratory irritation.
If you have ever visited a beach during a red tide, you may have experienced the "red tide tickle" which can include itchy throat
and coughing. Brevetoxins, chemicals produced by Florida red tide, may also irritate preexisting respiratory conditions
including asthma. Persons with asthma are advised to bring their inhaler to the beach during a red tide
or avoid the area until conditions improve. Some swimmers experience skin irritation and rashes after swimming in waters with a severe
red tide. They have also reported eye irritation from the sea foam. In some red tides, dead fish wash ashore; during these
conditions it is advised that beachgoers avoid swimming in water where dead fish are present.
In most cases, the quickest way to relieve symptoms during a red tide is to leave the affected area including going in to an air-conditioned environment. Particle filter masks may
help reduce breathing the affected sea aerosol. Checking the conditions before going to the beach can help you choose a good time to visit.
Sometimes traveling to another beach just a few miles away can make all the difference.
To see what the red tide conditions are like before going to the beach, visit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission Research Institute Red Tide Conditions Report
To see if and where red tide is occurring in Florida, please visit: Mote Marine Beach Conditions Report
1. Cheng YS, Zhou Y, Irvin CM, Pierce RH, Naar J, Backer LC, et al. Characterization of Marine Aerosol for Assessment of Human Exposure to Brevetoxins. Environ Health Perspect. 2005; 113:638-643 (122 KB pdf
2. Backer LC, Kirkpatrick B, Fleming LE, Cheng YS, Pierce R, Bean JA, Clark R, Johnson D, Wanner A, Tamer R, Zhou Y, Baden DG. Occupational Exposure to Aerosolized Brevetoxins during Florida Red Tide Events: Effects on a Healthy Worker Population. Environ. Health Perspect. 2005;113(5):644-669. (128 KB pdf
3. Abraham WM, Bourdelais AJ, Ahmed A, Sereberiakov I, Baden DG. 2005. Effects of Inhaled Brevetoxins in Allergic Airways: Toxin-Allergen Interactions and Pharmacologic Intervention. Environ Health Perspect 113:632-637. (124 KB pdf
4. Fleming LE, Kirkpatrick B, Backer LC, Bean JA, Wanner A, Dalpra D, Tamer R, Zaias J, Cheng YS, Pierce R, Naar J, Abraham W, Clark R, Zhou Y, Henry MS, Johnson D, Van de Bogart G, Bossart GD, Harrington M, Baden DG. Initial Evaluation of the Effects of Aerosolized Florida Red Tide Toxins (Brevetoxins) in Persons with Asthma. Environ. Health Perspect. 2005;113(5):650-657. (131 KB pdf
5. Kirkpatrick B, Bean JA, Fleming LE, Kirkpatrick G, Grief L, Nierenberg K, Reich A, Watkins S, Naar J. Gastrointestinal Emergency Room Admissions and Florida Red Tide Blooms Harmful Algae. 2009a;9:82-86. (396 KB pdf
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