People in Burton and Swadlincote have been warned to watch out for horseflies. Also known as clegs, they are biting their way through the skin of UK residents at the moment, say experts.
Horseflly bites are very different to midge bites, as they take victims longer to recover from. Wounds can become infected and the skin of the victims can even come out it what looks like burns and blisters.
What are horseflies?
The large dark-coloured flies measuring 1cm to 2.5cm in size are found near ponds, woodlands, horse stables and cattle. The female of the species have saw-like teeth which slice open skin. They are the only gender that do bite because they need blood to produce eggs. They release an anti-coagulant to stop the blood from clotting which they cut into the skin of their victim.
The bite of a horsefly is painful and itchy. It develops into a large, red, itchy and swollen bumps resembling blisters and burn marks within minutes of the horsefly coming into contact with human skin.
The infected bite can ooze and become red in colour. The NHS says: "Horsefly bites can take a while to heal and can become infected. See your GP if you have symptoms of an infection, such as pus or increasing pain, redness and swelling."
In exceptional cases some people can suffer an allergic reaction with symptoms including dizziness, wheezing, difficulty breathing, a skin rash and severe swelling that may be visible in your lips or tongue.
If you suffer any of these reactions, seek medical help immediately.
I have been bitten, what do I do?
If you have been bitten keep the bite clean. Bacteria gets into the skin it can become infected. Victims of the bite are told to apply an ice pack to help soothe the area and stop the itching.
Doctors normally recommend using an over-the-counter steroid cream containing hydrocortisone. Ibuprofen gel can also help ease any pain and swelling.
And it goes without saying that you should avoid scratching the bite. It won't stop the itching and could damage the skin, increasing the risk of developing an infection.