Suffering from insect bites? Essex skin expert offers advice

Close up of an insect

Bitten by an insect? Sue Ibrahim from Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh, Essex explains what you should do.

There’s no denying that this summer has been glorious so far, says Sue Ibrahim at Elan Medical Skin Clinic in Rayleigh, Essex. But the sunshine has led to more people than usual being bitten by insects and it seems that the horsefly population has exploded.

According to the BBC, calls to the NHS helpline 111 about insect bites are almost double the rate they normally are at this time of year and senior doctors are reporting incidents of patients being treated in hospital for infected horsefly bites.

One explanation for the rise in the number of horseflies is standing water, such as garden paddling pools, where they and other insects thrive. The advice is to drain paddling pools after use.

What should I do if I’ve been bitten by an insect?

“I find hydrocortisone cream alongside antihistamine tablets works best,” says Sue, a nurse consultant in dermatology with more than 30 years’ experience of treating skin conditions.

“When should you see a doctor? When the bite becomes infected and starts to go red or you develop a high temperature.”

Exposed skin is appealing to insects, so if you are prone to being bitten, we advise you to consider wearing loose-fitting, longer sleeved tops and trousers. Swimming in lakes and rivers is also best avoided.

Unfortunately, there is not much evidence behind plug-in insect repellent devices.

For more advice, please contact us.