What to do if you get bitten or stung by bees, wasps, ticks, horseflies and other common insects in Ireland – Irish Mirror

As the weather heats up across Ireland this week, more and more people are reporting insect bites and stings. While most bites and stings are harmless, some can be nasty or even cause an allergic reaction, making it difficult to breathe.

Many bites will clear up within a few hours or days and can be treated at home but some can turn nasty. The HSE has issued advice on various insect bites and what to do if you get bitten or stung this summer.

"It can be difficult to identify what you were bitten or stung by if you didn't see it happen. But don't worry if you're not sure. The treatment for most bites and stings is similar," the HSE said.

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A wasp sting causes a sudden, sharp pain at first. A swollen red mark may then form on your skin. This can last a few hours and may be painful and itchy.

Sometimes a larger area around the sting can be painful, red and swollen for up to a week. This is a minor allergic reaction that isn't usually anything to worry about.

Some people may experience a serious allergic reaction.

A bee sting feels like a wasp sting, but the sting often stays in the wound.

The sting can cause pain, redness and swelling for a few hours. As with wasp stings, some people may have a mild allergic reaction that lasts up to a week.

Serious allergic reactions can also occasionally occur.

The HSE says "immediate action" is required if you get such an allergic reaction which can include breathing difficulties, dizziness or a swollen face or mouth. If these symptoms occur, "dial 999 or 112 for an ambulance immediately."

Bites from mosquitoes often cause small red lumps on your skin. These are usually very itchy. Some people may also develop fluid-filled blisters.

Mosquitoes don't cause major harm in Ireland. But in some parts of the world, they can spread serious illnesses such as malaria.

After a mosquito bite abroad, get medical help right away if you develop worrying symptoms.

These can include: chills, headaches, vomiting

Tick bites are not usually painful. You may not realise you've been bitten straight away.

Symptoms of a tick bite can include: a small red lump on the skin, swelling, itchiness, blistering, bruising

Ticks in Ireland can sometimes carry a serious infection called Lyme disease.

"Remove ticks as soon as possible. It is important to be aware of ticks and to remove them as soon as possible. Lyme disease can be prevented if infected ticks are removed quickly," the HSE said.

"See your GP if you develop any symptoms of Lyme disease. This could be a fever or a rash that looks like a 'bull's-eye' on a dart board."

A bite from a horsefly can be very painful. The bitten area of skin is usually red and raised.

You may also experience: a large red, raised rash called hives or urticaria, dizziness, weakness, wheezing, part of your body becoming puffy and swollen.

Horsefly bites can take a while to heal and can become infected. See your GP if you have symptoms of an infection. Symptoms can include pus or increasing pain, redness and swelling.

Midge and gnat bites often look like mosquito bites.

They usually cause small, red lumps that can be painful and very itchy. They can sometimes swell up.

Some people may also develop fluid-filled blisters.

Close up of bed bugs on white skin and bedbug bites on the legs Bedbug bites usually occur on the face, neck, hands or arms. They're typically found in straight lines across the skin.

The bites aren't usually painful. If you've not been bitten by bedbugs before, you may not have any symptoms.

If you have been bitten before, you may develop itchy red bumps that can last for several days.

Mite bites cause very itchy red lumps to develop on the skin. They can sometimes also cause blisters.

Mites usually bite uncovered skin. You may be bitten on your tummy and thighs, if your pet has mites and has been sitting on your lap.

Some mites burrow into the skin and cause a condition called scabies.

Flea bites can cause small, itchy red lumps that are sometimes grouped in lines or clusters. Blisters may also develop.

Fleas from cats and dogs often bite below the knee, around the ankles. You may also get flea bites on your arms if you've been stroking or holding your pet.

Bites from spiders in Ireland are uncommon. But some native spiders such as the false widow spider are capable of giving a nasty bite.

Spider bites leave small puncture marks on the skin. These can be painful and cause redness and swelling.

Some spiders in Ireland are venomous. Their bites can cause nausea, vomiting, sweating and dizziness. Bites can become infected, or cause a severe allergic reaction in rare cases. Get medical help immediately if you have any severe or worrying symptoms after a spider bite.

The most common ant in Ireland, the black garden variety, doesn't sting or bite. But red ants, wood ants and flying ants sometimes do.

Ant bites and stings are generally harmless. Although you'll probably feel a nip and a pale pink mark may develop on your skin.

Sometimes the bitten area may be painful, itchy and swollen.

To treat an insect bite or sting:

The pain, swelling and itchiness can sometimes last a few days.

If you've been stung and the sting has been left in your skin, you should remove it as soon as possible. This will prevent more venom being released.

Scrape it out sideways using something with a hard edge or your fingernails.

Don't pinch the sting with your fingers or tweezers. This may spread the venom.

If you've been bitten by a tick and it's still attached to your skin, remove it as soon as possible. This will reduce your risk of picking up illnesses such as Lyme disease.

To remove a tick:

If you have troublesome symptoms after an insect bite or sting, the following treatments may help:

See your GP if these treatments don't help. They may prescribe stronger medicines such as steroid tablets. The HSE warns that parents are not to give aspirin to children under 16 years of age.

Emergency treatment in hospital is needed in these cases.

HSE tips on preventing insect bites and stings:


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What to do if you get bitten or stung by bees, wasps, ticks, horseflies and other common insects in Ireland - Irish Mirror

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