An influencer was left covered in bites after being attacked by sand flies - while posing for photos in the sea.
Chelsie Gold, 25, spent her birthday snapping shots in various bikinis in Florida for photos to share on her Instagram page, where she has 32.3k followers.
But the influencer was left with her legs covered in bites from pesky sand flies that had been hiding in the hedges on the shore of a private beach in the Melbourne area.
Over a month after the attack, Chelsie's legs are still covered in scabs and scars - despite trying to treat the bites with the medicine Benadryl, Vicks VapoRub and Bio-Oil.
The influencer, who lives in Ontario, Canada, said: "Not only did I get attacked by sand flies, I also got a kidney infection somehow.
"[I] had to fly home early because I had no health insurance. I thought, 'what could go wrong on a five day trip?'
"I was bit on February 18 which was actually my birthday! The bites only came out on around February 22 once I got home, which I was kind of thankful for because I had everything I needed to treat the bites here.
"I was there shooting content at sunset and I was changing in and out of bathing suits. I had my beach bag up by the hedges which is where the sand flies burrow.
"I did notice while I was changing that there were little black specs on me but I thought it was just sand because, to my knowledge, there were no mosquitoes in Florida.
"Going to the doctor when I got back home to Canada, they were confirmed to be sand fly bites - not to be confused with sand flea bites. They are tiny, tiny, microscopic little black flies.
"This itch isn't just a normal mosquito or fly bite itch - it is like the type of itch where you just can't stop scratching until you rip the skin and even though the skin is ripped, you can't feel any pain because you're that itchy.
"I am recovering well, finally - just conquering the scars now. I do want to send a warning to others during sand fly season - I wouldn’t wish that experience upon anyone!"
Chelsie did attempt to cover the remaining scars with fake tan before flying to Cuba on March 17 for a series of photoshoots but was not able to hide the marks that appear all over her legs and had to have them edited from her shoot pictures.
Despite her horrific ordeal, she has urged her fans not to let her experience sway their decision to go to Florida for Spring Break and has instead shared her advice on keeping safe from sand flies during your trip.