Advice from nurse after rise in insect bites at Portsmouth minor injuries unit

A MINOR injuries unit has seen an increase in the number of people with insect bites.

In the past few weeks, the centre at St Mary’s Hospital, in Milton, Portsmouth, has seen more people needing treatment for bites and stings.

Mark Friend, lead nurse and clinical nurse educator at the unit, is now giving advice on how to avoid getting bitten.

He said: ‘The hot weather sees us out and about more in the bugs’ environment. The thick-soled shoes and jeans that would normally give us some protection as we walk the dog, or go out for a day in the country, have been replaced by shorts, skirts and sandals.

‘Mite bites cause very itchy red lumps, which sometimes blister. Horsefly bites can be very painful and may cause a large red rash, dizziness and wheezing.

‘However, the biggest potential threat are ticks, whose bite can cause Lyme Disease. Unfortunately, tick bites are not usually painful, so they may go unnoticed until the symptoms begin.’

Symptoms of a tick bite include swelling, itchiness, blistering and bruising, while the symptoms of Lyme Disease include a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery, headaches, muscle and joint pain and a loss of energy.

Mark’s tips include using insect repellent and wearing long trousers when outside. walking or cycling in grass or near overhanging hedges, if bitten or stung washing the affected area with soap and water and not using antihistamine cream.