SWIMMERS are being warned to stay away from British seafront lakes after horrifying reports of FLESH-EATING lice.
An urgent warning was issued to avoid swimming in lakes in Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare after swimmers complained of bites and bug infestations.
Some Brits have reported feeling ‘stings’ and ‘nips’ in the water and finding red patches on their skin afterwards.
Other complained of finding the creatures in their swimwear.
The Marine Lake Enthusiasts Society noted a sharp increase in the number of reports.
They advise people to stay out of the lakes until a fresh tide flushes out the critters.
Theories on what the creatures are range from sea lice to jellyfish larvae.
Lice apparently have a short, free-swimming phase at the beginning of their life cycle when they need to find a fish to attach to.
They then feed on the fish’s blood, allowing them to survive and grow.
A spokesman for Clevedon Marine Lake said: “These critters get in the lake when the sea comes over the wall and they do bite or sting. For most people, it’s just a little scratch sensation, but some of us more sensitive types can get a rash.
“The bad news is that there’s nothing we can do to stop them – it’s natural water and sea life lives in it, plus the water coming over the sea wall is much needed to keep the lake water fresh.”
He added that swimmers who do get a bad reaction should consult their pharmacist.
Sea lice are not dangerous to humans but can cause mass fish deaths and make fish unmarketable.
This comes just weeks after the Clevedon lake was subject to a similar warning after high levels of e coli bacteria was found in the water.