Signs you’ve been bitten by a horse fly – doctor shares what a bite looks like
This Morning: Dr Ranj discusses horsefly bites
Akin to house flies, horse flies have large eyes and thick bodies, but they are bigger, ranging from six to 20 millimetres in length.
While they are most drawn to feed on horses, they still bite humans during the summer.
Dr Vakharia confirmed a horse fly bite will lead to a “raised, itchy, and tender bump”.
Once bitten, the remaining lesion will look very similar to what a mosquito or another insect bite would look like.
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However, the “pain, redness and swelling can often expand a distance away from the initial bite”.
Symptoms of a horse fly bite can include:
- A sharp, burning sensation
- Redness and swelling around the bite
- Sometimes, bruising around the bite.
A female horse fly has a mandible, which is the jaw that is shaped like “scissor blades”.
As the horse fly bites through human flesh to draw blood, rather than just piercing the skin, the bite tends to hurt more than other insect bites.
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Take a mosquito bite, for example, which would be less painful than a horse fly bite.
This is because the mosquito releases a mild anaesthetic into the skin during a bite, which numbs the area, whereas a horse fly does not.
While a horse fly bite can be sore and itchy, it doesn’t usually require medical assistance.
The only time a person should seek medical assistance for a horse fly bite is if they feel light-headed or dizzy following a bite, or they are experiencing anaphylaxis.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis can include:
- Worsening pain
- Difficulty breathing
- A rash that spreads
- Swelling of the lips.
When it comes to a normal, less severe reaction to a horse fly bite, time is the best healer.
Effective home remedies to ease discomfort include applying an ice pack to the affected area and taking over-the-counter antihistamines.
NHS GP Doctor Krishna Vakharia is the clinical Director for Patient.info.
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