First aid expert reveals her ultimate guide to identifying common bites and ...

Warm summer weather and spending more time outside means more of us will be getting bitten by pesky insects.

And although any itchy bite is annoying it can be hard to know what you've been bitten or stung by and when it is something to worry about.

Wasp or bee stings, for example, are rarely cause for concern unless someone is allergic, but the bite of a tick could transmit Lyme disease which can lead to paralysis or life-threatening meningitis.

To help people deal with summer stings, first aid expert Emma Hammett has revealed her ultimate guide to identifying and dealing with insect attacks.

Ms Hammett, a qualified nurse and founder of First Aid for Life, explains what sort of common bites people can expect and how to relieve the symptoms and recover faster. 

Rule number one, says first aid expert Emma Hammett, is never scratch a bite, because it makes it more likely to become infected and get worse

Rule number one, says first aid expert Emma Hammett, is never scratch a bite, because it makes it more likely to become infected and get worse

First point – no matter how tempting it is, please don't scratch the bite. 

Once the skin has been broken the bite is far more likely to become infected.

The first sign your bite is becoming infected is likely to be that it gets redder, hot and more itchy. If this is the case get it seen by a health professional as soon as possible.

If the redness tracks away from the bite and spreads across the skin, this could be a sign of cellulitis, which is serious and you should get medical treatment quickly.

Bee and wasp stings

Bees and wasps are not generally aggressive and don't look to sting people, however it is extremely common for people to accidentally step on them in bare feet, or for them to fly into us and then sting.

Bees and wasps have stingers which inject venom into a person's skin – bees stingers often come off during an attack whereas wasps can pull theirs out 

Bees and wasps have stingers which inject venom into a person's skin – bees stingers often come off during an attack whereas wasps can pull theirs out 

When bees or wasps sting a person, they inject venom through their stinger into the skin of the victim. 

Wasps, hornets and other stinging insects have stingers without barbs that they retract when they sting, so these insects can sting people multiple times. 

Bees have a barbed stinger that they leave in the victim's skin along with the venom sack.

If someone is stung by a bee and the sting remains in the skin, quickly flick it out using your thumb nail or a credit card.  

Try not to squeeze the sting as this can increase the amount of allergen entering the body and therefore increase any possible allergic reaction. 

The venom sac can take 2-3 minutes to release the venom and so removing the sac promptly can prevent further venom increasing the reaction.

Bee stings usually stay in the skin and cause surrounding skin to turn red in reaction

Bee stings usually stay in the skin and cause surrounding skin to turn red in reaction

Most people only experience a localised reaction to bee stings where the localised area around the skin is inflamed, red and painful.

About three per cent of people stung by bees and wasps have an allergic reaction to the sting, and up to 0.8 per cent of bee sting victims experience the severe and life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Old wives' tales suggest neutralising stings with vinegar or bicarbonate of soda is an effective remedy for wasp and bee stings. 

Wasp sting venom is more alkaline and the remedy is neutralising the sting with vinegar to reduce the pain. 

Bee sting venom is predominantly formic acidic and so they advise this should be neutralised with bicarbonate of soda. 

Neither of these remedies have any scientific backing and it is more likely to be the power of suggestion than any real benefit that might make people feel better.

Tick bites (ticks carry Lyme disease) 

Ticks are tiny creatures that live in woodland and grassy areas, where they are particularly prevalent if there are deer and other wildlife. 

They are blood sucking and bite into the skin to feed on blood. 

Initially they are extremely small, but swell as they eat, eventually becoming pea sized and therefore easier to spot and remove.

Ticks prefer not to leave the body and burrow into the skin, where they swell up as they drink blood. They must be carefully removed to avoid the head getting stuck in and tearing off

Ticks prefer not to leave the body and burrow into the skin, where they swell up as they drink blood. They must be carefully removed to avoid the head getting stuck in and tearing off

Ticks can carry Lyme disease, which can be serious and lead to paralysis or meningitis, and they should ideally be removed by a health professional.

If this is not possible, they should be very carefully removed with tweezers or ideally with a proper tick remover, gently pulling without twisting in any way. 

When using a tick remover, you should insert under the tick and rotate 360 degrees. 

It is possible for the tick to be only half removed, leaving its mouth in the skin and this can lead to infection. Never burn the tick off or try and use chemicals to kill it.

Cover up with long trousers and socks when walking in woodland and long grass and always check yourself, your clothes and your dog for ticks on your return. 

LYME DISEASE IN HUMANS

Lyme disease is a serious illness in humans, characterised by flu-like symptoms, lethargy and aches and pains. 

People who get Lyme disease from a tick bit often develop a telltale rash which looks like a bulls-eye target

People who get Lyme disease from a tick bit often develop a telltale rash which looks like a bulls-eye target

Some 50 per cent of people with Lyme disease develop a classic bulls eye type rash, which can appear on any part of the body and not necessarily where they were bitten. 

If you are worried you might have contracted Lyme disease, visit your doctor urgently. 

If Lyme Disease is diagnosed and treated quickly it is possible to make a full recovery, however it can cause paralysis, arthritis, meningitis and severe long-term problems.

Chiggers   

Chiggers are horrible little mites that are commonly found on meadows, golf courses, woodlands, parks and in grassland around lakes and rivers.

They are members if the Trombiculidae family and are tiny mite-like spiders. They are often known as berry bugs, red bugs or harvest mites.

Symptoms of chigger bites include

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