Heatwave causes spike in insect bite calls to NHS

Calls to the NHS 111 helpline about insect bites last week were nearly double the average for this time of year while doctors have reported patients needing hospital treatment for resulting infections

Calls to the NHS 111 helpline about insect bites last week were nearly double the average for this time of year while doctors have reported patients needing hospital treatment for resulting infections

Despite the warm weather, experts say standing water - such as garden paddling pools - where insects thrive should be removed, the Peterborough Telegraph reports.

Calls to the NHS helpline about insect bites have increased by almost double the normal number at this time of the year and doctors have reported incidents of patients who were treated in the hospital for infected horsefly bites.

Data from the Public Health England show that about 9,000 calls were made to the NHS 111 helpline on July 8, which is about double the baseline number.

"We wouldn't normally see anyone coming to hospital for a bite, but we have seen a few recently needing treatment with antibiotics which is very unusual", said Nick Scriven, Society for Acute Medicine president.

'They can be very painful, and can take a while to heal, and as a result can get infected and need antibiotics.

Amid a record-breaking heatwave impacting the United Kingdom, a new threat has emerged to the public: vampire horseflies. But itchy horsefly bites take longer to heal and can become infected, especially if scratched.

Spikes in calls about insect bites coincided when the temperature peaked between June 24 and July 9.

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"We had a wet spring, then we've got this handsome hot weather which are great conditions for a lot of different insects to thrive in". I am self-medicating with creams and an oral antihistamine tablet to ensure the bite site does not become infected'.

The Antibiotic Research UK said that the bite from the bloodsucking horseflies may lead to potentially deadly infections.

Natalie Bungay, from the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is advising the public to be pest aware.

"This means they can take their food without having to worry about delivering a painful bite, as the animals are generally powerless to stop them".

"This is as opposed to mosquitoes, which extract blood through a painless bite". Standing water actually provides a food source for insects, and can be used by them as a breeding ground.

After a horsefly bite, the advice is to seek medical attention if the skin starts to get red and you develop a fever.

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