Across the country, we’ve been enjoying a lot of sunshine and warm weather over the past few weeks, and spending more time outside basking in the glorious heat.
As welcome as this is however, the hot weather is known to bring out more insects – meaning enjoying the warm outdoors does run the risk of getting bitten, and there’s one bug in particular this year that you’ll be keen to avoid – the Blandford fly.
According to reports, they’re ‘invading’ the UK right now. Here’s what you need to know – what to do if you get bitten, how to protect yourself and when to seek medical advice:
What is the Blandford fly?
The Blandford fly is a small bloodsucking black fly that’s about 2-3mm long, and can normally be found around May-June. The bug tends to stay low to the ground, targeting the legs and ankles, and usually preys on its unsuspecting victims near rivers or streams.
Its bite can be painful and sometimes leave people with nasty blisters, a fever and painful swelling around the groin.
What to do if you get bitten by a Blandford fly
If you do get bitten, this is the advice to follow:
– Dry the area of the bite gently and carefully.
– Do not scratch it, as this could cause an infection.
– Apply a cold compress or calamine lotion.
– Avoid antihistamine creams as they can cause skin reactions.
– Cover any large blisters with a dry dressing.
– If you have been bitten on your legs or ankles, rest with your feet elevated on a stool.
– Swelling may last for a few days, so don’t be alarmed, and continue to reduce pressure to the area.
Professor Rod Thomson, director of public health for Herefordshire, said in a recent warning: “We are asking people to take precautions if they’re out and about on our rivers and streams by covering up and using a good quality insect repellent.
“If you do get bitten, it can often feel very uncomfortable with swelling, blistering, joint pain and sometimes a high temperature. However, there’s normally no need to visit a GP.”
When you should seek medical advice
In most cases, the discomfort and other effects normally ease off after a few days. However, if you experience ongoing or severe discomfort and swelling, or red lines develop on the skin in the groin or armpit, or you notice a spreading redness or hotness around the bite, seek medical advice as these may be symptoms of an infection or reaction that may need treatment. Call NHS 111 or speak to a pharmacist for advice.