Safe and well this summer - bites, stings and allergies
As well as warm and relaxing days, the summer also brings wasps, bees, ants, midges and other biting and stinging invertebrates.
Most insect bites and stings clear up on their own in a few hours or 2 to 3 days. You can usually treat them without seeing a GP.
Simple first aid for insect bites and stings – to deal with any redness, swelling and any stinging or burning pain:
- remove the sting if you can see it
- clean the wound with soap and water
- apply something cold to the skin - for example a damp cloth or ice pack
- raise the hand, foot or leg if that’s where you have been bitten or stung
If the bite or sting is on the face, call 111 for first aid advice because the reaction can be more severe.
Hay fever is very common. It affects about one in five people in the UK. Hay fever and asthma are closely linked. Pollen is a common trigger for people with asthma. If you're one of these people, your GP or asthma nurse may add hay fever treatments to your written asthma action plan.
There are hundreds of different types of grasses, trees and weeds in the UK. Different types of pollen are released at different times of the year. Grass pollens are the most common cause of hay fever and usually affect people in early summer. Weed pollens (such as nettles and docks) usually release pollen from early spring to early autumn.
It is possible to be allergic to more than one type of pollen - and you may also be allergic to the spores from moulds or fungi.
It's sometimes possible to prevent the symptoms of hay fever by taking some basic precautions, such as:
- wearing wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting in your eyes when you're outdoors
- taking a shower and changing your clothes after being outdoors to remove the pollen on your body
- staying indoors when the pollen count is high (over 50 grains per cubic metre of air)
- Sign up for pollen alerts http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/pollen-forecast/#?tab=map
- applying a small amount of petroleum gel (eg Vaseline) to the nasal openings to trap pollen grains