Searches for NHS advice on insect bites and stings increase

The number of people seeking advice on insect bites and stings from the NHS website has surged over recent weeks.

Analysis by NHS England, which runs the website, found visits to the insect bites and stings page have nearly tripled over the last month compared to the same period last year – peaking at one visit every 22 seconds in the past week.

Insect bites or stings are not usually serious and get better after a few days, but they can cause infection or serious allergic reactions.

The insect bites and stings page details how to relieve symptoms including bringing down swelling using ice packs or reducing itching with antihistamines, as well as pain relief – all of which are available from a pharmacist.

It also offers advice on how to identify different bites and stings, as well as tips on removing stingers, ticks and caterpillars.

The page provides a list of warning signs to watch out for in case of emergency including a skin rash, difficulty breathing, wheezing and a swollen tongue or face, and urges people with those symptoms to call 999.

The website is the UK’s biggest health website with an estimated 2.1 million visits a day in 2023 from people seeking information and advice.

It includes over 4,000 pages and provides information about 990 medical conditions as well as other health services including applying for a free UK Global Health Insurance Card for healthcare cover abroad, finding a GP, and a pregnancy due date calculator.

For more information visit the insect bites and stings page.