Asthmatics Should Shun Beaches During Red Tide

Red Tide

Just one hour breathing in the toxins associated with red tide can affect asthmatics for much longer.

So says a study that is being published in this month's journal of the American College of Chest Physicians. It was conducted by a group of researchers on 97 people with asthma at Sarasota's Siesta Beach.

Dr. Barbara Kirkpatrick manages Mote Marine Laboratory's Environmental Health Program.

KIRKPATRICK: For the folks who have asthma, we need to get the word out that for them, if they get that cough, they need to either find another beach that has fewer impacts or choose another activity that day.

She says the best way to avoid a problem is check in with a beach conditions reporting system. Lifeguards in Sarasota County now transmit real-time conditions to Mote Marine's web site. That system is being expanded to Manatee County public beaches. Kirkpatrick says she hopes the reporting system will eventually be in place along all the Gulf beaches.

The beach conditions reporting system can also be reached by telephone by dialing (941) 388-5223.

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