Tick with its head sticking in human skin, red blotches indicate an infectionTick bites can cause Lyme disease

Summertime – and the scratching is plenty. Grass is growing rapidly – especially here in West Dunbartonshire – and the number of tick bites is unusually high.

Unless your daddy is rich and your mammy’s a saver, you will be unable to afford to get away from it all to sunny climes where midges are few and far between and ticks are non existent.

Getting bitten by one can be really irritating because although they aren’t always painful, tick bites can trigger allergic reactions.

And chemists and outdoors shops are doing a roaring trade in medication to take the sting out of them.

Claire Nevinson, a pharmacist at Boots, said: “Insect bites and stings can be uncomfortable and irritating, but fortunately are usually nothing to worry about and can be easily treated.

Grass: West Dunbartonshire Council may have promised to keep things tidy, but they haven’t.

“When treating a bite or sting, it can be tricky to know the cause, particularly if you didn’t see it happen, but don’t worry, as the process for treating them is similar.”

When it comes to tick bites, it’s important to get these treated promptly, as ticks can carry Lyme disease on rare occasions. This is a bacterial infection that can cause a pink or red circular rash to develop around the area of the bite.

She added: “If you’ve been bitten by a tick, you should try to remove the tick as soon as possible using fine-toothed tweezers to gently grip the tick as close to the skin as possible, before pulling steadily away from the skin without twisting or crushing the tick.”

It’s then advised that you wash the area with soap and water, applying antiseptic cream to the skin surrounding the bite.

Here is Claire’s expert advice for some of the other most common insect bites and stings this summer. And the ones most uncommon, such as the yellow stone fly pictured above right, which was thought to have ceased to exist but has returned to the scene after nearly 30 years.

A wasp sting causes a sudden, sharp pain at first, followed by a swollen red mark which may form on the skin. This may be painful and itchy and can last a few hours.

That can be painful, red and swollen for up to a week.  A bee sting feels similar, but the sting can be left in the wound. If this occurs, this should be removed as soon as possible using tweezers, before washing the area with soap and water.

If there’s swelling, apply a cold compress such as an ice pack, or flannel soaked in cold water, for at least ten minutes and where possible, elevate the affected area to help reduce any swelling.

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