Bites and stings are a common hazard in the UK. Whether you’re just enjoying your garden or spending time outdoors, insect bites can happen to anyone. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the insect bites and stings you might encounter and how to deal with them if they happen. We’ll also look at some risks associated with insect bites in the UK, such as Lyme disease and how to spot it!
Insect bites and stings in the UK
UK residents are fortunate that serious insect bites and stings are pretty rare. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t nasty surprises lurking in gardens and fields.
For example, a bee sting can be pretty painful but isn’t too serious if treated correctly. However, there’s always the risk of an allergic reaction to the bee sting. It’s important to know steps to take in the event of a run-in with a bee.
The most common UK insect bites and stings
Some insect bites and stings you might come across are:
- Bees, wasps and hornets
- Ticks, bedbugs and mites
- Mosquitos and midges
What to do for a bee sting
Bee Stings are usually not too severe, but there is always a risk of an allergic reaction. If you are stung, move away from the area calmly to avoid further stings. Bees will leave a stinger in the wound, so you will need to remove this safely. If you have difficulty breathing, dizziness or swelling in your face or mouth, you should dial 999 for an ambulance.
What to do for a wasp or hornet sting
Wasps and hornet stings are usually painful but rarely severe. Stay calm and move away from the area. The area may swell up, which is a normal allergic reaction to the toxins left in your skin. As with a bee sting, if you have trouble breathing, dizziness or swelling in your face or mouth, you should dial 999.
What to do for a mosquito bite
Mosquito bites are usually painless. After a while, you may develop redness and itchiness around the insect bite. This is an allergic reaction to mosquito saliva. In other parts of the world, mosquitos can carry diseases like malaria. If you are abroad and suffer from a fever, chills, headaches and feeling sick after a mosquito bite, you should seek medical attention.
What to do for a tick bite
Ticks are insect-like creatures that attach themselves to animals and people. If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove it as quickly and carefully as possible using tweezers or fingers without squeezing the insect’s body.
You may not even notice ticks, but they can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, an unpleasant bacterial illness contracted from infected deer, birds or mice. If you see a bullseye rash on your skin after a tick bite, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.
What to do for bedbug and flea bites
Bedbugs are small insects that feed on humans while they sleep. Bedbug bites are small raised red bumps that usually appear in straight lines on the face, neck, hands and arms. Bedbugs aren’t dangerous, but you will need to contact an exterminator to help eliminate them from your home.
Flea bites most commonly occur when they jump from pets to humans. Flea bites usually occur in a cluster, usually around the ankles. If you have been petting an animal that has fleas, you might have bites on your forearms. Treating the animals for flea bites will help to get rid of them.
What to do for horsefly bites
Horsefly bites are painful and often leave a significant swelling. There is the risk of infection with horsefly bites, so it’s essential to keep the area clean and avoid the temptation to scratch. Use an antiseptic spray or wipe to clean the site once a day.
What to do for spider bites
Spider bites are rare in the UK, but the false widow can deliver a nasty surprise. Their bite is venomous but not very potent, so the only symptom is usually some pain at the bite site for a day or so. Secondary infection is always a risk, so avoid scratching the area and use an antiseptic spray to keep the area clean.
With most insect bites and stings, the risk is that the wound will become infected if it is not cleaned correctly. Scratching can also introduce additional bacteria to the wound.
A product like Anthisan Cream will help stop the itch and allow the area to heal. It also helps to reduce inflammation.
You could also use an antiseptic healing cream with a local anaesthetic to help numb the pain from the bite or sting. Germolene Antiseptic Cream is an excellent choice for this.