So many people do not know the realities of red tide or what it even is. If you are from out of Florida, you likely have not even heard of it. But whether you're living in Florida or just visiting, it's important to be aware of the basics of red tide because I feel like many people believe it is a myth or are embarrassed to even ask simple questions because they feel like they should know about it already.
So, let's debunk this myth of red tide with a few basic facts so you don't have to embarrass yourself by asking them the next time it comes up in Florida news.
1. Red tide is not red.
I know... mind-blowing, right? Red tides are caused by the massive growth of tiny, microscopic algae, which is a type of phytoplankton in the ocean. It is not the actual algae that is red, but instead the massive growth of algae lets off a reddish color in the water, hence the name red tide.
2. Red tide hurts our water AND our economy.
Many people just think about the environmental effects of red tide, but the big chaos that develops around this daunting algae comes from its impacts on our local economies. As a Southwest Florida native, I have seen the hurt that red tide can cause. Many small businesses have gone out of business because of the impact red tide has had on our tourism. As Floridians, we thrive on tourism and people coming to our beaches. Without nice beaches and water, the tourists don't come at the same rate!
3. Red tide can have a negative impact on our respiratory systems.
If you ever cough or have a tickle in your throat when you go to the beach, especially in the area I am from, there is a fair chance that this is because there was a bout of red tide. So no! You don't have Covid-19; you just have red tide!