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When an insect or other small creature bites you, they make a tiny hole in your skin, often to get to the blood that they feed on. Stings contain chemicals that are very irritating to the skin and can trigger allergic reactions.

Bites from insects that feed on your blood, for example mosquitoes, often result in itchy spots or lumps. These don't usually need any treatment and clear up within a day or so. The same generally applies for insect stings. Bites around your ankles or feet at home may be the result of cat or dog fleas.

A sting should be removed as fast as possible, and can be pinched or scraped off. Don't try to grab the sting between your fingers or tweezers as this can cause the venom sac to squeeze its contents into your skin.

Relieve pain by applying a cold compress or a cream or spray containing a local anaesthetic. If necessary; use an anti-histamine or hydrocortisone cream to help reduce swelling. The use of vinegar as an effective neutralizing agent for wasp stings is unproven.
Sometimes bites and stings can lead to complications such as skin infections or an allergic reaction.

Call an ambulance immediately for anyone developing a serious allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock). They may have some or all of the following symptoms:
• red, blotchy skin ,swelling of the face and neck ,difficulty in breathing, rapid pulse, swollen lips and eyes ,itchiness all over ,a rash ,fainting or severe anxiety

Avoid getting stung:
• Wear insect repellent and if mosquitoes are a problem, sleep under a net or use a plug.
• wear long sleeves and trousers, gloves etc
• Sweet foods and drinks attract wasps
• If surrounded by a swarm of bees or wasps, move out of the way slowly. Do not try to wave the insects away, this will only make them more aggressive and likely to attack.
• Never aim a blow at a wasps' or bees' nest or attempt to throw them
• Stay away from things that attract insects, such as flowers, trees, bushes and piles of wood. • Smells and bright colours attract insects. Avoid scented creams and perfumes if you are going to spend time outside.

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