Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

Respiratory Irritation Alerts Issued

November 15, 2022

The current HABscope forecast calls for moderate to low respiratory irritation due to red tide at Tarpon Bay Road Beach on Sanibel today and tomorrow, with a high chance at the Boca Grande pier. Using current wind predictions from the National Weather Service that are combined with Karenia brevis cell counts gathered by volunteers along Florida’s west coast, the forecast provides information on when the red tide caused by K. brevis could be impacting area beaches so that people who are susceptible to its impacts will know the risks.




Impacts happen when K. brevis, the organism that causes red tides in the Gulf of Mexico, is present and winds blow onshore or alongshore (generally from the west). Offshore winds (typically from the east) usually keep respiratory impacts to a minimum.




Human Health Risks


Most People: Experience minor respiratory irritation — coughing, sneezing, teary eyes


and an itchy throat — when red tide is present and winds are blowing onshore. These


symptoms go away when you leave the beach.




People with Chronic Lung Problems: People with asthma, COPD or other lung


diseases can have severe reactions when they breathe in airborne red tide toxins.


Health officials advise that these people avoid red tide areas altogether and take all


medications as prescribed, including having access to rescue inhalers. People with


chronic lung disease should leave the beach if they begin experiencing respiratory


problems, even if red tide is at very low or low concentrations.




Forecast includes:


• The day and time for the potential risk of respiratory impacts to beachgoers.


• Forecasts in 3-hour increments projected over 24 hours that are updated with the


latest wind models every 3 hours.


• Wind speed and direction


• The day and time of day water samples were collected


• The day and time of day that the forecast model was produced


N/A (not available) means that current water samples are not available so no forecast is available at this time. Please check back later or the next day.


 Click here for the current forecast.


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