SWIMMERS are urged to be cautious after the Environment Agency made a dangerous discovery in Windermere.
Samples tested positive for blue-green algae in water close to the Lakeside YMCA.
The algal bloom can cause skin irritation if it comes into direct contact with the skin and can result in extreme feelings of sickness if swallowed.
South Lakeland District Council has erected signs at bathing areas warning people of the danger.
Phil Greenup, SLDC’s Public Protection Manager, said: “Blue-green algae can potentially make people feel quite ill if swallowed or even by just swimming in it.
“We want the public to be aware of the affects and are asking people to be extra careful and vigilant when using the lakes and rivers for recreational purposes during the summer months.
“Farmers and pet owners should also prevent livestock and animals coming into contact or drinking the affected water, as it can sometimes prove fatal for animals.
“People should observe any notices near affected areas and avoid contact or drinking water from areas identified.”
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Blue-green algae is common in the summer months, especially between June and November.
Whilst the outbreaks vary in colour between a discoloured green and a reddish brown, any sign of it means the water could potentially be toxic.
Further information about blue-green algae can be found on the Environment Agency’s website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk
To report incidents of blue-green algae blooms or scums call the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.