Red Tide Continues in SoCal


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From La Jolla up to Encinitas, a blue glow has begun to appear along Southern California’s coast at a variety of beaches since May 7. The glow is a result of a red tide, according to the

“A red tide occurs when the population of certain kinds of algae known as dinoflagellates explodes, creating what’s called an ‘algal bloom’,” according to The dinoflagellates are bioluminescent so that, when moved by water or waves, create the neon blue waves that have been observed from several SoCal beaches. The phenomenon gets its name from the reflection of the dinoflagellates which give off a red tint in the water during the day.

“Red tides are very unpredictable, so there’s no way to tell how long it will last,” stated the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California in San Diego. The last red tide in the area occured in 2013 and lasted up to a week. However, in 2011 a bloom lasted up to nearly a month, according to

Although swimmers and surfers are coming from all over to experience this event, red tides can have a negative effect on the health of sea life and people. According to, swimming in red tide can cause skin irritation and burning eyes. Breathing in toxins from a red tide can also end up in coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes.

To prevent health issues, people with chronic respiratory problems should stay out of the water to avoid breathing in any red tide toxins that may be in the air. Also, avoid eating mollusks taken from red tide waters, for they could contain toxins that lead to food poisoning. If you do go swimming in a red tide, do not swim near dead fish and make sure to rinse off with fresh water when you get out.