Horsefly ‘invasion’ warning as insects ‘bite through clothes’
Families are being warned of an invasion of horseflies that can ‘bite through clothes’ due to perfect weather conditions for breeding.
Dr Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy, says horsefly bites can be particularly nasty and may take several days to disappear. There is also a risk that bites can become infected with bacteria.
According to experts the warm temperatures and sudden downpours are ideal for the insect to prosper. And with many of us enjoying the great outdoors during the heatwave, the potential to be bitten is greater than ever. The British Pest Control Association in 2018 placed the dangerous creatures on its ‘Top Ten Stings and Bites to Avoid List’.
The organisation said: “Literally designed to eat a horse, their bite is both impressive and painful. The horsefly is a sanguivorous insect and therefore wants to bite you.
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With horseflies, Dr Lee warned: “Horseflies are most likely to be out and about at dawn and dusk, although they can bite at any time. They also love piles of manure, so avoid stables and farmyards.”
She says to take care walking in long grass or beside stagnant water such as ponds, lakes and marshes. Wear long-sleeved tops and trousers, tucked into your socks. Wear a sunhat or a cap, with some form of neck protector. Again, wear light colours and avoid perfumed products.
Lee recommends to try Picaridin insect repellent spray for horseflies. Also, they dislike the scent of peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, clove, rosemary and basil. And if you get stung: “These often cause a blister at the bite site, but avoid scratching the top of the blister, even if it’s itchy. Clean the area using cotton wool with plain soap and warm water, and pat gently dry.
“It’s not a good idea to use other remedies like vinegar or bicarbonate of soda, as these have been shown not to work,” says Lee. “Apply a cold compress for five to 10 minutes. Take paracetamol or ibuprofen if it’s painful. Try antihistamines for itching.”
With any insect bite or sting, if you have a bad reaction or symptoms get worse, seek medical advice. James O’Loan, CEO and pharmacist at Chemist4U said: “A normal bite or sting should heal within a few days. The pain and inflammation could be made worse if you have a mild allergic reaction to the bite or sting, but this should normally pass within a week. If you’re worried about a bite or sting, speak to your pharmacist to find the right treatment.”
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