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Float like a butterfly and sting like a… well, a few things actually! Posted on 24 Jun 2019

Many of us love to be outdoors during the summer months and this means being amongst the fantastic British wildlife. However, what it can also mean is insect bites or stings.

NHS Warwickshire North and NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) has issued some top tips for dealing with those irritating moments.  

In most instances being stung or bitten is a minor nuisance. The affected area may get a little red or swollen and it may be slightly painful or itchy but it usually clears up within several hours. But to a child, it may result in lots of tears and anxious parents.

The following tips can help you avoid insect bites and stings:

  • Remain calm and move away slowly if you encounter wasps, hornets or bees – don't wave your arms around or swat at them
  • Cover exposed skin – if you're outside at a time of day when insects are particularly active, such as sunrise or sunset, cover your skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers. Wear shoes when outdoors
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin – repellents that contain 50% DEET (diethyltoluamide) are most effective. However, make sure you read the label first as many are not appropriate for young children. Check with your pharmacy for the best advice
  • Avoid using products with strong perfumes, such as soaps, shampoos and deodorants – these can attract insects
  • Be careful around flowering plants, rubbish, compost, stagnant water, and in outdoor areas where food is served
  • Never disturb insect nests – if a nest is in your house or garden, arrange to have it removed (GOV.UK has details about pest control services and how your local council can help)
  • Avoid camping near water, such as ponds and swamps – mosquitoes and horseflies are commonly found near water
  • Keep food and drink covered when eating or drinking outside, particularly sweet things – wasps or bees can also get into the open drink bottles or cans you're drinking from
  • Keep doors and windows closed or put thin netting or door beads over them to prevent insects getting inside the house – also keep the windows of your car closed to stop insects getting inside

For further advice on treatment of bites and stings visit your local pharmacy or NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is also online. The NHS 111 advisers will tell you where to go if you do need medical attention.

© NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group
Second Floor, Heron House, Newdegate Street, Nuneaton CV11 4EL