LEE COUNTY, Florida – A red tide was reported near Gasparilla Island State Park on Wednesday.

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County has issued a health alert for the overgrowth. Health officials said some people in the area may experience mild and short-lived respiratory symptoms such as irritation of the eyes, nose and throat similar to cold symptoms.

People with respiratory problems such as asthma may have more severe symptoms, according to local health officials. Usually, the symptoms go away once a person leaves the area or goes inside.

Health officials said they recommend people with these symptoms stay away from beaches or go to an air-conditioned space, the department said.

The department also recommends that visitors and residents do not swim around dead fish in Gasparilla Island State Park. Anyone with chronic breathing problems should consider staying away from the location.

No one should harvest or eat shellfish and fish in distress or dead there. Local health officials said if the fish are healthy, rinse the fillets with tap or bottled water and discard the innards.

Pets and livestock should be kept away from water, sea foam and Dead Sea life, according to the department.

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