The southwestern coast of Florida is on alert for a rare and potentially dangerous red tide.
It's a phenomenon caused by massive algae blooms that create harmful chemicals. It can be especially damaging to people suffering from chronic asthma, bronchitis or emphysema.
According to the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, a bloom of Karenia brevis was spotted along the shorelines of Tampa.
Already several residents from Sarasota to Charlotte complained of breathing issues.
There have also been reports of dead fish.
The microorganism Karenia brevis can only be seen with a microscope. It's always present in the Gulf in negligible amounts. Large blooms, however, turn the sea a reddish brown color.
The toxins are harmful to both land and marine life. It can kill fish and other aquatic animals. And when it becomes airborne, it can irritate the lungs. Even if you don't suffer from a respiratory condition, you can feel the effects. You can experience coughing, sneezing, itchy skin and teary eyes.
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