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During the warmer months of Spring, Summer and Autumn, workers who are outside are at risk of insect bites and stings

Dangerous insects can include:

Wasps – stings can result in immediate pain/discomfort followed by itchiness. Symptoms usually disappear after a few hours but longer-term allergic reactions can occur with rate anaphylaxis (a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction).

Bees – stings are similar to a wasp sting but the “stinger” will be left in the wound. This should be carefully removed - scrape it out sideways with something with a hard edge, such as a bank card, or your fingernails if you don't have anything else to hand.

Mosquitoes – bites often cause small red lumps on your skin which can be very itchy. Some people may also develop fluid-filled blisters.  Although common in the UK they do not spread malaria here.

Ticks – as the bites are not particularly painful you may not realise that you’ve been bitten until you develop symptoms later. This can include a small red lump on the skin, swelling, itchiness, blistering, bruising.  If untreated tick bites can cause Lyme disease (a serious bacterial infection).

Ticks can bury themselves in your skin and so must be carefully removed with tweezers.  To avoid tick bites - in areas of long grass, wear long trousers tucked in to socks, check exposed skin for ticks (they are very small and therefore difficult to see), check clothing for ticks, use insect repellents.

Horseflies – bites can be very painful and can result in a red a raised area of skin around the bite. Effects can also include dizziness and weakness.  Bites have a tendency to become infected resulting in increasing pain and a lengthy healing process.

Most symptoms of insect bites can be alleviated by the use of paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain/discomfort and over the counter creams for itching as well as antihistamine tablets to relieve the symptoms of allergies.

If you are concerned about a bite or a sting or have a serious reaction then NHS 111 should be contacted for advice.

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