Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Bite Me

I'm nursing some beautiful bites on my legs.

Its a consequence of wearing shorts on the river. Once we are past Easter and the weather starts to warm-up, I tend to wear shorts until September (not the same pair, you understand !!).

Blackfly (Diptera Simuliidae)  are those very black, moth-like flies that hover close to the water surface. There are apparently 40 or so different types in the UK alone, with some 1500 species worldwide.

In Africa, they can cause river blindness, but here in Blighty, they're just a bloody nuisance.

Their bites are very, very itchy and they often end up bringing your skin up in lumps.

The male flies collect in huge swarms which, on calm sunny days, dance in the air near trees, awaiting the arrival of the females.

The female flies enter these swarms and are seized by a male before the mating pair falls to the ground.

Before or after mating the female flies frequently seek a meal of blood to supplement their diet and assist in the production of eggs. They like human blood especially. 

In terms of treatment, victims are advised to clean the bite wound with soap and water and dry gently. 

Creams that contain camomile lotion, steroid cream, or anaesthetic can soothe the pain of the bite, as can an antihistamine tablet.

Do not apply cream or ointment to broken skin and always follow the instructions on the packet.

Try to avoid scratching the bite- although it may be very itchy - because you may damage the skin and allow bacteria to get in.

Alternatively, don't wear shorts.

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