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Insect bites and stings.

Byline: DR MIRIAM STOPPARD

FLEA

The bite: Small, inflamed spots with a deeper red centre, where the flea has bitten. Often the spots are in a line with where the flea moved across the skin. People who are sensitive to flea bites will develop spots on other parts of their body other than where they''re bitten.

What to do: Use an antiseptic cream to prevent infection and a steroid cream for swelling and itching. De-flea your house, and that includes your pets. Keep pets off your bed and vacuum rugs daily. Spray insecticides on infested areas.

TICK

The bite: A tick can latch on to your skin as you walk through grassy woodland. It feeds on your blood and once latched on it''s very difficult to remove. To prevent tick bites, keep your arms, legs, and head covered when outdoors and use a tick repellent on your skin. Ticks carry Lyme disease, a serious flu-like illness which can take months to get better even with treatment.

What to do: Grasp the tick firmly with some tweezers as close to the skin as possible without crushing the tick. Apply gentle pulling motion upward until the tick comes free. Don''t twist or turn. For all tick bites, local cleansing and antibiotic cream may be applied.

WASP, BEE HORNET, YELLOW JACKET

The sting: When certain types of bees sting, they lose their stingers and die, but wasps don''t. Wasp and bee stings can cause a serious reaction in people who are sensitive to them.

What to do: If you don''t have an allergic reaction, remove the sting, apply ice and take an antihistamine tablet. If your lips, tongue or face swells up, this is an emergency. Lie down and call an ambulance. In future, always carry an EpiPen with you to inject yourself immediately on being stung. Home first aid includes vinegar on a wasp sting and bicarbonate of soda for a bee sting. Let your doctor know if you have a large local reaction after a wasp sting.

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 16, 2015
Words:336
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