GREENWICH, Connecticut (WABC) -- The Greenwich Department of Health is warming the public about Swimmer's Itch after receiving multiple reports at several area beaches.
Swimmer's Itch, also called cercarial dermatitis, appears as a skin rash caused by an allergic reaction to microscopic parasites that are released from snails into fresh and salt water.
Although humans are not the parasite's preferred host, they can come into contact with a swimmer and cause an allergic reaction and rash.
"Me and some of the other guards have been like bit, and like the little bugs get caught in your bathing suit and they like keep biting you," lifeguard Piper Dorsey said.
The rash is not contagious and cannot be spread from one person to another.
Children are more susceptible because they tend to wade for longer periods of time. Experts say to shower and towel dry immediately after a swim -- or avoid the water completely.
"It really could be from hours to even a few days afterwards, but again it would be an appearance of pimples or blisters, you would know, and it might be itchy," said Dr. Christopher Davison, the ER Medical Director at Greenwich Hospital.
The warning is especially frustrating for those who paid for the daily entrance fee and beach parking pass after there were no posted notifications alerting people of the possible risk.
Out-of-town resident Lauren Boccardi brought six family members to the beach on Monday. When she checked the water conditions on the town website, she saw nothing about Swimmer's Itch. She said had she known, their plans would have changed.
"We've got a lot of kids here and obviously we don't want to deal with any medical issues, especially on vacations," Boccardi said.
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