Sea Life

Red Tide Information Guide_ Signs, Symptoms & Risks

Imagine you are planning a visit to enjoy your holidays to oceans and upon reaching the destination point, you must be imagining crystal clear water, but what you see is a dark brown or reddish color of the water. What that could be? You must be curious. Right? It’s called Red Tide. Have you ever heard about it? The color of the water changes because of the extensive algal growth which not only affects the life living under the water but affects human life as well. Very few people know about the Red Tides, so to provide you with the information, we are explaining everything related to Red Tide. Scroll down!

What Is Red Tide?

As we all know that algae are the photosynthetic organisms that form the base of the marine as well as aquatic food web. Sometimes, algae grow extensively, forming a huge mass called an Algal bloom. The algal blooms appear as the dense coloration of the ocean waters, forming red tides. It is also referred to as a harmful algal bloom, as it releases harmful substances which sicken and kill the life living under the water as well on the land.

How Is Red Tide Formed?

Red tide is an environmental condition where protists, specifically dinoflagellates, and algae go through a rapid period of growth, forming a bloom – the Algal bloom. The algal cell in a period of just 1 or 2 weeks produces millions of daughter cells. This results in changing the color of the water to reddish brown – forming Red tides.

How Long Can A Red Tide Last?

Normally, the extent of the red tides is usually observed to last for a few weeks or even for a year. The duration of the red tide depends upon biological factors such as the growth and tenacity of the protists and physical factors such as salinity, nutrients, sunlight as well as the direction and speed of the water and wind.

What Are The Common Types Of Toxins Produced By Algal Blooms?

Following are the common type of toxins produced by algal blooms:

  • Brevetoxin
  • Dinophysistoxin
  • Ciguatoxin
  • Okadaic acid
  • Azaspiracid
  • Saxitoxin
  • Domoic acid

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Breathing Red Tides Toxins?

The symptoms of breathing red tides toxins depend upon:

  • Eating seafood containing toxins
  • Taking in the small airborne toxins dissolved in the air we breathe.
  • Swimming or other water activities in the area of the red tide.

The signs of illness are:

  • Respiratory irritation such as sneezing and coughing.
  • Eyes irritation
  • Skin irritation ‘
  • Throat infection
  • Shortness of breath
  • Asthma attacks
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Abnormal hot and cold sensations

What Is The Risk Of Red Tides?

The Red tides have many risks, such as

  • When the algae grow extensively on the water’s surface, they used up an excessive amount of oxygen, causing the death of animals living under the water.
  • The algae release toxins into the environment which not only affect marine life but also affect the life on land.
  • Red tides cause an increase in the wind speed and temperature of the environment, resulting in the warming of the planet.

Where Red Tides Are Most Common?

Some of the regions, where red tides are common are:

  • Southwestern Coast of Florida
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • The Baltic Sea
  • The Black Sea
  • Southeastern Atlantic coast

Which Countries Are Greatly Affected By Red Tides?

The following countries are affected greatly by algal blooms:

  • Europe
  • Japan
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • United States
  • Chile
  • Thailand

Preventive Measures To Avoid Infections From Red Tides

The following are the preventive measures, that should be taken to avoid red tides:

  • Avoid entering the water bodies, which have a foul smell and distant coloration.
  • Do not drink water from the affected area directly.
  • Avoid eating seafood from the affected locality.
  • Check the status of the area before going boating or swimming.
  • Follow the rules and guidelines set by the local communities.

Final Words

Red tides in ocean waters are caused by excessive algal growth, which forms algal blooms. The red tides affect the life living under the water such as fishes, aquatic mammals, and sea birds, they also affect the human greatly. The consumption of affected seafood causes harmful symptoms in humans such as respiratory disorders, asthma attacks, stomach pain, or food poisoning. However, such symptoms must be avoided by following the guidelines and rules set by local communities. 

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.