SWIMMERS have been left with an unsightly rash all over their bodies after bathing in a lake at Cotswold Country Park and Beach.

Two teenagers made the most of the scorching temperatures last week and spent the day at the park’s man-made beach, near South Cerney.

However after just 10 minutes in the water, Shauni Iles, 19, and Kirsty Spencer, 19, both of Swindon, began itching and climbed out of the water immediately.

The next day they both erupted in an itchy rash that looked like they had been covered in insect bites.

"We thought nothing of it at the time," said Shauni. "But then we came up in lots of bumps, it itched a lot and it hurt when you scratched it.

"We went to the doctor and they seemed to think it was caught from somebody else in the water, but the rash has changed since so we went back and they said they thought it might be scabies or something.

"Because they don’t know exactly what it is, there’s not a lot they can do at the moment but we have some cream to stop the itching.

"I’m quite worried because it is getting worse and it looks really bad."

Country park manager Will Gibney said the rash experienced by both girls is known as Swimmer’s Itch. He said cases had been recorded in the past but this was the first recorded this year.

He said signs and advice are given out to visitors of the park but reassured the public that the water in the lakes is the cleanest in the country and that it is tested by the Environment Agency on a weekly basis.

He said: "This happens one or two days a year on very, very hot sunny days, it’s very rare to get a reaction from anyone.

"We hand out advice on Swimmer’s Itch and we have signs up warning parents and children about it, but it affects a small proportion of the population. It is completely harmless, although it is a little uncomfortable for a few days. However, it can be completely avoided by towel drying when you get out of the water."

Swimmer’s Itch, or schistosomiasis, is an infection with a type of parasite which lives in slow-moving water and uses waterfowl as hosts for its reproductive stage. Swimmers become infected if they make contact with the parasite before it has latched on to a suitable bird.