INSECT bites have been the main reason people attended a Portsmouth walk-in centre this summer.
The minor injuries unit at St Mary’s Hospital, in Milton, also saw high numbers of people with tick bites and burns.
The reasons for people attending the unit comes ahead of the bank holiday weekend when the emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, is expected to be busy.
Care UK, which runs the walk-in centre, is reminding people to come to them for all minor illnesses and injuries.
So far this summer, the top five reasons for patients attending were:
> Insect bites
> Tick bites
> Burns including sunburn
Mark Friend, the centre’s lead nurse, said: ‘The hot weather attracted us to lots more outdoor activities this summer, and at the same time there was an increase in the number of biting insects.
‘Horsefly bites can have some alarming symptoms. As well as being very painful, they may also cause a raised rash, dizziness, feelings of weakness, wheezing and swelling.
‘These are the types of conditions the minor injuries unit can efficiently treat.
‘By visiting us, rather than A&E, not only do you allow emergency services to get on with treating those who are seriously ill, but also you face far shorter waiting times.’
Mark said people should be extra careful when using barbecues over the bank holiday weekend to avoid burns and food poisoning.
He added: ‘You also need to be extra careful to keep children away from the barbecue, remember it can remain hot for a long time.’
Mark also said suncream should be applied and antihistamines taken on day trips.
Other illnesses and injuries the unit, off Milton Road, can treat include suspected broken limbs, minor head injuries, strains and sprains, cuts and grazes, ear and throat infections, minor eye conditions and coughs and colds.
The centre is open 8am to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays and no appointment is required.
For serious medical emergencies such as loss of consciousness, severe allergic reactions, severe blood loss or drug overdoses, call 999 or attend the emergency department at QA Hospital, in Cosham.