Allergic to bite midges fast and effective ways of treatment
- Treatment – Insect bites and stings
- First aid for insect bites and stings
- Removing a sting
- Removing a tick
- Dealing with caterpillar hairs
- Relieving the symptoms of an insect bite or sting
- When to get medical advice
- When to get emergency help
- Insect Bites and Stings
- Insect stings
- What is the treatment for an insect sting?
- Localised allergic reaction
- Generalised allergic reaction
- Serious non-allergic reactions
- When should you seek medical advice?
- Insect bites
- How do you treat insect bites?
- When should you seek medical advice?
- What insect bites cause swelling?
- How do you know if a bite or sting is infected?
- Allergies to insect stings
- Preventing insect bites and stings
- When out and about
- Tick bites
- Here’s The Best Way to Stop a Mosquito Bite From Itching
- Bites, insect
- Bite or sting?
- Risk factors
- When should I see a doctor?
- Useful Links
- Treating insect bites
- Allergic reactions
- Types of insect bite
- Useful Links
- Infected bites
- Risk factors
Treatment – Insect bites and stings
Most insect bites will improve within a few hours or days and can be treated at home.
First aid for insect bites and stings
To treat an insect bite or sting:
- Remove the sting, tick or hairs if still in the skin.
- Wash the affected area with soap and water.
- Apply a cold compress (such as a flannel or cloth cooled with cold water) or an ice pack to any swelling for at least 10 minutes.
- Raise or elevate the affected area if possible, as this can help reduce swelling.
- Avoid scratching the area or bursting any blisters, to reduce the risk of infection – if your child has been bitten or stung, it may help to keep their fingernails short and clean.
- Avoid traditional home remedies, such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, as they’re unlikely to help.
The pain, swelling and itchiness can sometimes last a few days.
Removing a sting
If you’ve been stung and the sting has been left in your skin, you should remove it as soon as possible to prevent any more venom being released.
Scrape it out sideways with something with a hard edge, such as a bank card, or your fingernails if you don’t have anything else to hand.
Don’t pinch the sting with your fingers or tweezers because you may spread the venom.
Removing a tick
If you’ve been bitten by a tick and it’s still attached to your skin, remove it as soon as possible to reduce your risk of picking up illnesses such as Lyme disease.
To remove a tick:
- Use a pair of tweezers that won’t squash the tick (such as fine-tipped tweezers) or a tick removal tool (available from pet shops or vets).
- Grip the tick as close to the skin as possible to ensure the tick’s mouth isn’t left in the skin.
- Pull steadily away from the skin without crushing the tick.
- Wash your skin with water and soap afterwards, then apply an antiseptic cream to the skin around the bite.
If you use a tick removal tool follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Don’t use a lit cigarette end, a match head or substances such as alcohol or petroleum jelly to force the tick out.
Dealing with caterpillar hairs
- Use tweezers or a pen to remove it.
- Try not to disturb it (for example, by brushing it with your hands) as it will then release more hairs.
- Rinse your skin with running water, allow it to air dry and then use sticky tape to strip off any leftover hairs.
- Use calamine, ice packs or a pharmacy remedy containing 3.5% ammonia to relieve the itch.
- Remove all contaminated clothes and wash at as a high a temperature as the fabric allows.
Don’t towel yourself dry after rinsing or use creams containing antihistamine.
Relieving the symptoms of an insect bite or sting
If you have troublesome symptoms after an insect bite or sting, the following treatments may help:
- For pain or discomfort – take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (children under 16 years of age shouldn’t be given aspirin).
- For itching – ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter treatments, including crotamiton cream or lotion, hydrocortisone cream or ointment and antihistamine tablets.
- For swelling – try regularly applying a cold compress or ice pack to the affected area, or ask your pharmacist about treatments such as antihistamine tablets.
See your GP if these treatments don’t help. They may prescribe stronger medicines such as steroid tablets.
When to get medical advice
Contact your GP or call NHS 111 for advice if:
- you’re worried about a bite or sting
- your symptoms don’t start to improve within a few days or are getting worse
- you’ve been stung or bitten in your mouth or throat, or near your eyes
- a large area (around 10cm or more) around the bite becomes red and swollen – your GP may refer you to an allergy clinic for further tests or treatment (read about treating allergies)
- you have symptoms of a wound infection, such as pus or increasing pain, swelling or redness – you may need antibiotics
- you have symptoms of a more widespread infection, such as a fever, swollen glands and other flu-like symptoms
When to get emergency help
Dial 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone else has symptoms of a severe reaction, such as:
- wheezing or difficulty breathing
- a swollen face, mouth or throat
- nausea or vomiting
- a fast heart rate
- dizziness or feeling faint
- difficulty swallowing
- loss of consciousness
Emergency treatment in hospital is needed in these cases.
Page last reviewed: 1 July 2016
Next review due: 1 July 2019
Insect Bites and Stings
Dr Laurence Knott, Reviewed by Dr Hannah Gronow | Last edited 28 Dec 2018 | Certified by The Information Standard
Most stings from bees, wasps and hornets cause pain and slight swelling but have little other effect. However, some people are allergic to stings and can develop reactions that can be life-threatening. Call an ambulance immediately if you suspect an allergic reaction soon after being stung. If you are stung by a bee and the stinger remains in the skin, scrape out the stinger as quickly as possible. Do not pluck it out as this may squeeze more venom into the skin.
Insect bites (not stings) rarely cause serious allergic reactions but can cause small itchy lumps to appear on the skin. Itch may be eased by a soothing ointment, antihistamine tablets, or steroid cream. Some insects infest pets, furniture, etc, and can cause repeated bites.
Insect Bites and Stings
In this article
What is the treatment for an insect sting?
Most insect stings (of which the most common are bee and wasp stings) result in a mild local skin reaction.
If you develop a mild local skin reaction:
- A cold compress will ease any pain and help to minimise any swelling – for example, use a cold flannel or an ice pack.
- A painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen may help if you have any pain.
- If it is itchy, you may not need any treatment, as itching often soon fades. However, sometimes an itch persists for hours or days. No treatment will take the itch away fully but the following may help:
- Crotamiton ointment (which you can buy at pharmacies) is soothing when rubbed on to itchy skin.
- A steroid cream may be useful – for example, hydrocortisone which you can buy at pharmacies or obtain on prescription. A doctor may prescribe a stronger steroid cream in some cases.
- Antihistamine tablets may be useful if you have lots of bites. In particular, a sedative antihistamine at night may help if the itch is interfering with sleep. A pharmacist can advise on which types of antihistamine are sedative and can help with sleep
If you are stung by a bee, treat the mild skin reaction as above.
If the stinger is still in place – scrape it out:
- Scrape out a bee sting left in the skin as quickly as possible. Use the edge of a knife, the edge of a credit card, a fingernail, or anything similar.
- The quicker you remove the sting the better; so use anything suitable to scrape out the sting quickly.
- Do not try to grab the sting to pluck it out, as this may squeeze more venom into the skin. Scraping it out is better.
Wasps do not leave a stinger in the skin when they sting. If you are stung by a wasp, treat the local skin reaction as above.
Localised allergic reaction
Some people are allergic to insect stings. If this happens, you will notice swelling at the site of the sting. This becomes larger over several hours and then gradually goes away over a few days. The size of the swelling can vary but can become many centimetres across. The swelling may even extend up an entire arm or leg. The swelling is not dangerous unless it affects your airway. However, if it is severe, the skin may break out in blisters.
If you develop a localised allergic reaction:
- Take an antihistamine tablet as soon as possible. You can buy these at pharmacies, or obtain them on prescription. Antihistamines block the action of histamine, which is a chemical that is released by certain cells in the body during allergic reactions.
- Use a cold compress to ease pain and to help reduce swelling. For example, use a cold flannel or an ice pack.
- Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help to ease the pain.
- Continue with antihistamines until the swelling eases. This may be for a few days.
- See a doctor if the swelling is severe. Your doctor may prescribe a short course of steroid tablets to counter the inflammation.
The treatment for insect stings is pretty much the same as for bites. Stings are more likely to cause a serious allergic reaction, the treatment for which is described below.
Generalised allergic reaction
This is an uncommon but more serious reaction to an insect sting (and occasionally an insect bite). It happens most often with wasp stings. About a quarter of people who are stung by a wasp or bee have some kind of allergic reaction. Only in a small proportion of these is the reaction severe. This severe reaction is called anaphylaxis and without quick treatment you would soon become unconscious. A small number of people die every year as a result of this kind of severe reaction, usually because they do not obtain treatment quickly enough.
Symptoms of a severe reaction
- Itchy skin in many parts of the body, followed by an itchy blotchy rash that can appear anywhere on the body.
- Swelling of your face, which may extend to the lips, tongue, throat and upper airway.
- A sense of impending doom.
- Tummy (abdominal) cramps and feeling sick.
- Dilation of the blood vessels, which can cause:
- General redness of your skin.
- A fast heart rate.
- Low blood pressure, which can make you feel faint or even cause you to collapse.
- Wheezing or difficulty in breathing, due to an asthma attack or the throat swelling.
A severe generalised reaction will usually develop within 10 minutes of a sting.
If any symptoms of a generalised allergic reaction develop
See above, and then:
- Call an ambulance immediately.
- If you have been issued with an adrenaline (epinephrine) pen, use it as directed straightaway. (You must however still call an ambulance.)
- You may be given oxygen and injections of adrenaline (epinephrine), steroids and antihistamines in hospital to counter the allergic reaction.
- Some people require a fluid ‘drip’ and other intensive resuscitation.
Serious non-allergic reactions
If you have many bee or wasp stings at the same time, this can also cause serious illness. This is usually directly due to the high dose of venom, rather than to an allergy.
When should you seek medical advice?
You should seek medical advice if the sting looks infected (see below), if you develop symptoms of a generalised allergic reaction, or if you have a skin reaction that seems to be persistent and/or spreading.
How do you treat insect bites?
Insect bites are treated in the same way as insect stings, except you don’t have to worry about scraping off a stinger.
When should you seek medical advice?
As with insect stings, you should seek medical advice if the bite looks infected, you develop a generalised allergic reaction or you have a skin reaction that persists or spreads.
What insect bites cause swelling?
Biting insects that are common in the UK include midges, gnats, mosquitoes, flies, fleas, mites, ticks and bedbugs. They can all cause swelling or bumps on the skin.
- A small itchy lump (papule) which may develop up to 24 hours after a bite. This typically lasts for several days before fading away. Sometimes some redness (inflammation) surrounds each papule.
- A wheal is a red, slightly raised mark on the skin, which is often itchy but temporary. It may develop immediately after being bitten. A wheal lasts about two hours but is often followed by a small itchy solid lump which develops up to 24 hours later. This can last for several days before fading away.
How do you know if a bite or sting is infected?
Occasionally, a skin infection develops following a bite, particularly if you scratch a lot, which can damage the skin and allow germs (bacteria) to get in. The signs of infection will be redness and tenderness around the bite. You may also develop a yellow discharge from the area. This is called pus. Over a period of several days, the infection may spread and, sometimes, can become serious. If the skin around a bite becomes infected then you may need a course of antibiotics. This is not commonly needed.
Allergies to insect stings
- In the UK most allergic reactions are caused by wasp stings.
- About a quarter of people who are stung by a wasp or bee have some kind of allergic reaction.
- You do not have an allergic reaction after a first sting by a particular type of insect. You need one or more stings to ‘sensitise’ your immune system.
- Sometimes it takes many stings to sensitise you. This is why some beekeepers who have had many previous stings may suddenly develop an allergic reaction to a bee sting.
- Bee and wasp venoms are different. People who are sensitised and ‘allergic’ to wasp venom are rarely allergic to bee venom.
- About 1 in 5 people who have had a previous generalised allergic reaction to a sting have no such reaction, or only a milder reaction, to a further sting. Therefore, if you have a generalised reaction to a sting, it does not necessarily mean it will happen again if you are stung again.
- However, the course can be variable. A series of stings may result in a generalised allergic reaction, no reaction and then another generalised allergic reaction. The reason why some people have variable reactions to a series of stings is not clear.
In short, if you have an allergic reaction to a sting, you cannot predict what will happen next time you are stung. Your doctor may refer you to an allergy clinic if a sting has caused a generalised reaction or you have developed a large local skin reaction with redness and swelling over 10 cm.
An allergy clinic will be able to do tests to confirm the type of venom or insect to which you are allergic. There are then two possible options which may be considered:
- Emergency medication: you are given a supply of emergency medication to use when necessary. Some people are given a preloaded syringe of adrenaline (epinephrine) together with a written treatment plan to cope with any future reactions. You (and relatives) can be taught how and when to use the treatments provided.
- Desensitisation: you are given injections of tiny amounts of venom from the type of insect that causes your allergic reaction. Repeated doses of venom over several weeks can ‘desensitise’ your immune system and so you will not react severely next time you are stung. This treatment involves some risk of causing a severe reaction, so it is not undertaken lightly. It is only available in certain specialised centres.
Preventing insect bites and stings
When out and about
Bites and stings most commonly occur when outside, particularly in the countryside.
The following measures are recommended to reduce the risk of stings from bees and wasps:
- Wear light-coloured clothing.
- Avoid strong fragrances, perfumes and highly scented shampoos.
- Wear shoes while outdoors and cover your body with clothing and a hat. Use gloves while gardening.
- Avoid picking fruit from the ground or trees.
- Avoid drinking out of opened drink bottles or cans to prevent being stung inside the mouth.
- Wash hands after eating or handling sticky or sweet foods outdoors (especially children’s hands).
- Keep uneaten foods covered, especially when eating outdoors.
- Always contact professionals to remove bee or wasp nests.
- Wear full protective clothing while handling bees.
Ways to avoid bites include:
- Wear long-sleeved clothing and long trousers in places where insects are common.
- Avoid brightly coloured clothes, cosmetics, perfumes or hair sprays, which attract insects.
- Rub an insect repellent on to exposed areas of skin.
- A complete head covering with a plastic viewer. Where midges are common, some people wear these when out – for example, when camping next to lakes and rivers. Many camping shops sell them.
There is no evidence that eating garlic, vitamin B1 or other foods will repel insects.
The tick usually clings to the skin. Remove the tick as soon as possible after the bite, using fine tweezers or fingernails to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull it gently and slowly straight out and try not to squeeze the body of the tick. Clean the site of the bite with disinfectant. (Traditional methods of tick removal using a burned match, petroleum jelly, or nail polish do not work well and are not recommended.)
One type of tick carries a germ called Borrelia burgdorferi which causes Lyme disease. See the separate leaflet called Lyme Disease for more details.
Here’s The Best Way to Stop a Mosquito Bite From Itching
For many of us, mozzie bites are an unavoidable part of life if we want the luxury of having our balcony door open on a summer’s night or evening drinks on the harbour.
But apart from not scratching them at all – and come on now, let’s not get too crazy – what’s the most effective way of minimising the itch?
The key is in how our immune system responds to a mosquito bite in the first place.
When you’re bitten, a mosquito will use its sharp, tubular proboscis to deliver saliva that’s full of anticoagulants to the blood, which thins it out for quick and easy siphoning.
As researchers discovered back in 2012, these mouthparts are so small, they actually pierce individual blood cells and suck them dry.
The first ever time you get bitten by a mosquito in your life, you won’t feel a thing, because your immune system hasn’t had a chance to develop a coordinated response.
But once it does, it will know to deliver an unrelenting burst of histamines to the dried-up, shrunken blood cells, and these are what turns the bite wound into a red, swollen, and itchy disaster area.
This is one of those cases where your immune system ends up causing more harm than good, so the best solution to combat a histamine-related itch is to douse it in antihistamines, as Rebecca Harrington explains over at Business Insider:
“If the itch is too much to bear, apply an antihistamine cream or gel to the area, or take an antihistamine pill, recommends the US Food and Drug Administration. Look for “Diphenhydramine” in the ingredients list – Benadryl has it. Both the cream and the pills can be found over the counter and are pretty inexpensive.”
Those pills can even be taken as a precaution beforehand, to deal with the inflammation as soon as you are bitten.
While antihistamines are the most widely accepted treatment for mosquito bites, there have been questions over just how effective they are.
In 2012, a study published in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin reviewed the available evidence for how over-the-counter treatments dealt with the itch of bug bites, and found “little direct evidence for the efficacy of treatments for simple insect bites, and, in general, recommendations for treatment are based on expert opinion and clinical experience.”
They added that with ointments containing antiseptics, antihistamines, or numbing agents such as lidocaine and benzocaine only appeared to help “sometimes”.
That said, “sometimes” is better than nothing, the researchers concluded, and having reviewed all available options, came to this recommendation:
“For mild local reactions, the area should be cleaned and a cold compress applied. Oral analgesics can be given for pain, and a mild corticosteroid cream applied to reduce inflammation and itching. Large local reactions can be treated with an oral antihistamine.
Non-sedating antihistamines are preferred during the day, but a sedating antihistamine can be of use at night if sleep is disturbed. Antibacterial treatment is not required for simple insect bites, but secondary infections should be treated with an oral antibacterial agent in accordance with local guidelines.”
And here’s some rather confronting footage of a mosquito’s flexible proboscis probing a blood cell. Know your enemy, I say.
A version of this article was first published in September 2015.
Page last reviewed: 13/07/2011
Insect bites are puncture wounds caused by insects. In Ireland, insects that bite include:
When an insect bites, it releases saliva that can cause:
- inflammation (redness and swelling)
The symptoms of insect bites can vary depending on the type of insect and the sensitivity of the person who is bitten. For example, some people may have a small, itchy lump after they are bitten, which only lasts for a few hours. Others may develop a more serious reaction, such as blistering and a number of itchy, red lumps. See Insect Bites Symptoms for more information.
Bite or sting?
As well as insects that bite, some insects sting and inject venom into the wound. In Ireland, insects that sting include:
- bees (honeybees and bumblebees)
See the Health A-Z topic about Insect stings for more information, including how to treat them.
If you work outdoors or regularly take part in outdoor activities, such as camping or hiking, you are more likely to be bitten by an insect. Exposing large areas of skin, such as your legs and arms, leaves you open to being bitten.
When should I see a doctor?
See your GP if your symptoms are severe (for example, if you have a lot of swelling and blistering) or if there is pus, which indicates an infection.
If you have a severe allergic reaction to a bite, such as wheezing or difficulty breathing, call 999 or 112.
If you have been bitten by a tick, remove it as soon as possible to reduce the risk of getting a tick-borne infection, such as Lyme disease. See Insect bites – treatment for advice on how to do this.
Most insect bites get better within a few hours. Tick bites usually take about three weeks to heal, although they can last for months if part of the tick is left in the wound.
Some insect bites can cause severe reactions, but it is unusual to catch diseases after being bitten by an insect in Ireland. The risk of catching diseases, such as malaria (a serious and sometimes fatal condition that causes a high temperature) is much greater in countries such as:
Inflammation is the body’s response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.
Flea bites can be grouped in lines or clusters and can cause a number of itchy red lumps to form
Treating insect bites
Most insect bites cause itching and swelling that usually clears up within a few hours. You can treat minor bites by:
- washing the bite with soap and water
- placing a cold compress (a flannel or cloth soaked in cold water) over the affected area to reduce swelling
- not scratching the bite
If you are in pain or the bite is swollen, you can take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen . See Insect bites – treatment for more information and advice.
Symptoms of insect bites
Page last reviewed: 13/07/2011
An insect bite often causes a small lump to develop, which is usually very itchy. A small hole (the actual bite) may also be visible. The lump may have an inflamed (red and swollen) area around it that may be filled with fluid. This is called a weal.
Insect bites usually clear up within several hours and they can be safely treated at home.
Some people are particularly sensitive to certain insect bites and can react badly to them if they are bitten.
If you are very sensitive to an insect bite, you may experience anaphylaxis (also known as anaphylactic shock). This is when your immune system (the body’s defence system) reacts badly to the insect bite. However, anaphylaxis after an insect bite is rare. You are more likely to have an allergic reaction if you are stung by an insect.
See the Health A-Z topics about Anaphylaxis and Insect stings for more information.
It is important to know the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction. If you or someone you know is bitten or stung by an insect and experiences a severe reaction, emergency medical treatment will be required.
Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may include:
- wheezing or difficulty breathing
- severe itching or a blotchy rash over many parts of your body
- severe swelling that may be visible in your lips or tongue
- nausea (feeling sick)
- chest pain
Call 999 or 112 for an ambulance if you or someone you know has these symptoms after being bitten or stung by an insect.
Types of insect bite
The symptoms that can occur from different types of insect bites are listed below.
Midges, mosquitoes and gnats
Bites from midges, mosquitoes and gnats often cause small papules (lumps) to form on your skin that are usually very itchy. If you are particularly sensitive to insect bites, you may develop:
- bullae (fluid-filled blisters)
- weals (circular, fluid-filled areas surrounding the bite)
Mosquito bites in certain areas of tropical countries can cause malaria (a condition that causes a high temperature and can be fatal). See the Health A-Z topic about Malaria for more information about this condition.
Flea bites can be grouped in lines or clusters. If you are particularly sensitive to flea bites, they can lead to a condition called papular urticaria (where a number of itchy red lumps form). Bullae may also develop.
Fleas from cats and dogs can often bite below the knee, commonly around the ankles. They may also affect the forearms if you have been stroking or holding your pet.
A bite from a horsefly can be very painful. As well as the formation of a weal around the bite, you may experience:
- urticaria a rash of weals (also called hives, welts or nettle rash)
- angio-oedema: itchy, pale pink or red swellings that often occur around the eyes and lips for short periods of time
Horseflies cut the skin when they bite, rather than piercing it, so horsefly bites can take a long time to heal and can cause an infection.
Bites from bedbugs are not usually painful, and if you have not been bitten by bedbugs before, you may not have any symptoms. If you have been bitten before, you may develop intensely irritating weals or lumps.
Bedbug bites often occur on your:
Tick bites are not usually painful and sometimes only cause a red lump to develop where you were bitten. However, in some cases they may cause:
Ticks can carry a bacterial infection called Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease (a bacterial infection that causes a rash and high temperature). If Lyme disease is not treated, its effects can be serious (see Insect bites – complications ).
See the Health A-Z topic about Lyme disease for more information about this condition.
Mites cause very itchy lumps to appear on the skin and can also cause blisters. If the mites are from pets, you may be bitten on your abdomen (tummy) and thighs where the pet has been sitting on your lap. Otherwise, mites will bite any uncovered skin.
Sometimes, insect bites can become infected. Symptoms of an infected insect bite may include:
- pus in or around the bite
- swollen glands
- increasing redness, swelling and pain in and around the bite
Some bites will naturally be red and swollen, but for other types of bites these symptoms may not be normal and could indicate an infection.
If you think your bite may have become infected, or if you are concerned about your symptoms, see your GP.
If an insect bites you, you may become ‘sensitive’ to its saliva. This means that if you are bitten again by the same or a similar species, it can provoke a local reaction. A local reaction is a reaction that is confined to the area of the bite.
For example, you may develop:
- an itchy papule (lump)
- an itchy weal (an inflamed, fluid-filled area)
This may last for several days.
The severity of the reaction will depend on your level of sensitivity. However, if you continue to be exposed to the insect’s saliva (you continue to be bitten), you will eventually become immune to the saliva and there will be no reaction at all.
Causes of insect bites
Page last reviewed: 13/07/2011
Insects in Ireland that may bite include:
- midges (small flying insects)
- gnats (small flying insects)
- fleas, which usually live on an animal or person
- bedbugs, which live inside mattresses or furnishings, or behind skirting boards or paintings (they cannot fly)
- ticks, which live in areas with long grass, moorland and in forests where deer are found, and are about the size of a poppy seed
- mites, which are found in stored products, such as flour or grain, or on cats and dogs
Some risk factors that can make insect bites more likely are discussed below.
- Pets, such as dogs and cats, are a common cause of persistent flea bites. You may have pets of your own, or you may be bitten if you frequently visit someone who has pets.
- Living environment. Infestations of human fleas often occur in overcrowded communities that have low hygiene standards.
- Birds nesting on or near the house. Household infestations of bird fleas can occur if bird boxes are positioned too close to your house.
- Recent house move. If you have recently moved house and you have bites, they may be caused by fleas. Fleas can survive for a few months without a host (an animal or person that fleas live on in order to survive).
- Old houses, furniture and upholstery can contain bedbugs, which can travel a considerable distance to find a suitable host.
- Occupation. People who work outdoors, such as forestry workers, are at increased risk of being bitten by ticks or midges. People who handle products, such as dockworkers, warehouse workers or shopkeepers, are most at risk of being bitten by mites.
- Travel. Bites may be caused by a foreign insect, such as a botfly, which is found in certain parts of South America.
- Pregnancy. Mosquitoes are attracted to pregnant women, possibly because they produce more carbon dioxide and give off more heat, which mosquitoes find attractive.
- Ulcers. If you have ulcers (open sores) on your skin, this may attract flies, as they like to lay their eggs in rotting flesh.