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Don’t let bites or stings ruin your summer

During the summer months, many of us enjoy heading outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather, but this often means insect bites or stings.

In most instances being stung or bitten is a minor nuisance. The affected area may become red or swollen and it may be slightly painful or itchy but it usually clears up within several hours.

So, what’s the best thing to do? And how will you know if the reaction is more serious?

Most insect bites and stings can be treated at home. The best thing to do is wash the area with soap and water and place a clean flannel or cloth soaked in cold water over the affected area to reduce swelling. Try to avoid scratching the area as this could cause infection.

If the bite or sting is painful or swollen, you can wrap an ice pack, such as a bag of frozen peas, in a towel and place it on the swelling. For further treatment, ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter treatments that can help, such as painkillers, creams for itching and antihistamines.

Dr Carl Ellson, NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG Medical Director said: “It’s difficult to avoid bites and stings when you’re out and about during the summer.

“There are some precautions that you can take like, covering exposed skin with long sleeves or trousers, applying insect repellent and avoid using strong perfumes, as this can attract insects.

“If you do get bitten or stung, advice can be given by your pharmacist. If symptoms persist or get worse, ensure that you seek further guidance from NHS 111 online or your GP.”

In rare cases, some stings can be painful and trigger a serious allergic reaction. If the redness or itching gets worse or it does not clear up in a few days, check your symptoms through NHS 111 online for advice.

NHS 111 online is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All you need to do is log on to www.111.nhs.uk, answer a few simple questions and health professionals can advise you where to go if you do need medical attention.

Information that was held previously by NHS Herefordshire CCG, NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, NHS South Worcestershire CCG and NHS Wyre Forest CCG was transferred to NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG on 1 April 2020.

The new CCG is the the new data controller. Any questions about the use of data (including patient data) by the new CCG should be directed to mlcsu.ig@nhs.net.