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Asthmatics Needed for Red Tide Survey

That stinging feeling that sometimes accompanies trips to the beach during outbreaks of red tide can be especially harmful to people with asthma. Now, researchers are trying to find out why some asthmatics are affected by red tide.

Anyone who ventures to the Gulf shore during red tide season knows the symptoms: irritated eyes and noses, a dry cough - even wheezing. For people with asthma, it's even worse.

The University of Miami and Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota are asking for people with respiratory conditions to do an online survey - they'll get paid for it - to give their reasons for shunning the surf.

" I need about 50 asthmatics by May 1st," says Kate Nierenberg,  Mote Marine's senior biologist.

"Red tide affects asthmatics more than it affects healthy people. And we want to get their perception of what they would do about eating seafood and going to the beach and doing beach activities. Because their perception is a little bit different than healthy people," she says.

You can find out more about taking the survey by sending a request by email to decisionmaking@mote-dot-org.

How to Participate:

  • What: A one-time, one-hour survey conducted in person
  • Where: Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota (Participants must have their own transportation)
  • Who may participate:
    • People 18 years or older
    • Asthmatics who are full or part-time Sarasota or Manatee residents. MUST have a physician's diagnosis of asthma.
  • Timing: Participants will be accepted through the end of this month, April 2012.
  • Reimbursement: Participants will receive $50 for time, effort and travel expenses.

For pre-screening to enroll: email decisionmaking@mote.org


Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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