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MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The impact from red tide is floating too close to home for Miami Beach Resident Nitza Ortiz.
The risk of breathing in the air near the algae bloom can cause a runny nose, scratchy throat, and watery eyes.
“With all that been said about the red tide, I’m just going to take my daughter off to South Pointe to the water park that they have there,” Ortiz said.
More than ten miles away from South Beach, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered Haulover Inlet and beaches to the north closed as a precaution Thursday. They’ll reopen Friday morning.
However, the threat in the air from red tide may still be felt for some.
“It’s not life threatening, except if you are a patient who has chronic respiratory problems,” Dr. Jose Vazquez said.
Dr. Vazquez is with Baptist Health Primary Care. He told CBS4 News people with asthma or heavy smokers may be impacted the most. They may also need to wear masks while on or near the beach.
If you’re close to the beach, you are going to get exposed to it. You have to be careful. Close the windows. Don’t go to the beach, particularly, the sand,” he said.
The higher the concentration in the water, the worse it can possibly get for some people. Swimmers may get rashes that could last for days.
Some others could get really sick if red tide water is swallowed, similar to food-poisoning symptoms or even numbness.
“Occasionally, it can cause some neurological problems when you have a little numbing or tingling in your fingers,” Dr. Vazquez said.
Vazquez hopes the current that brought red tide near South Florida takes it away sooner than later. Kelly Hartzell, who is a Miami-Beach resident as well, has her fingers crossed she doesn’t cough or feel worse because of the toxins in the air.
“I’m feeling ok now-for the time being,” Hartzell said.
If anyone has symptoms, Dr. Vazquez recommends people to leave the beach.
If the symptoms get worse, he recommends people to call their doctor.