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Insect bites and stings: How to prevent and treat ‘painful’ bites – 'lower your risk'


There are more than 150 species of biting midges which are commonly found in Scotland, Scandinavia and northern Europe.

Midge bites aren’t dangerous, but can be intensely itchy, and are most likely to happen around water.

According to Dr McClymont: midge bites will sometimes swell and develop into fluid-filled blisters, so scratching should be avoided as much as possible.

A cold compress will work best here, though pain relief may also be needed once the blister has burst.


Horseflies are bigger than houseflies and have larger, multi-coloured eyes and a painful bite.

Dr McClymont warned: “Be careful if you’re running or doing anything strenuous, as there’s evidence that horseflies are attracted by exhaled carbon-dioxide.”

A painful bite calls for a stronger solution, so a cool compress followed by a local anaesthetic spray will work best.

For a natural alternative, mix a few drops of chamomile or clove essential oil with water and spray generously onto the area.



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