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The Blandford fly returns to the county

NHS Herefordshire is urging people to cover up and use insect repellent when out and about near watercourses as the Blandford fly returns to the county.  April to June is the usual season for the biting larvae, but calls from members of the public suggest there has been an increase in activity following the current warm weather.

The Blandford fly is a 2-3mm bloodsucking black fly which lives near watercourses and gives a particularly nasty painful bite, usually to the legs as it flies low to the ground.
Although it is named after the Blandford area, it is also found in other areas including Norwich, Oxfordshire and Herefordshire.
Dr Arif Mahmood, consultant in public health, said: “People can reduce the risk of getting bitten by covering up and using insect repellent – the same precautions they’d take if they wanted to avoid a mosquito bite”.
“The fly lives near rivers and streams, so our advice is to either avoid these areas or take precautions.”
“If you’ve been bitten by one of these flies it can feel very uncomfortable, causing swelling, blistering, joint pain and sometimes a high temperature.  However, there will generally be no need to visit a GP. 
“If you have any concerns such as a high temperature or are feeling generally unwell following a bite, please ring NHS Direct on 0845 4647. They will be able to advise if a trip to you local GP is necessary.  In addition, local pharmacies can provide advice on how to ease your discomfort.
“In some cases the bites can become infected and antibiotics are needed, however these are the exception rather than the rule. For the majority of people, the symptoms last a few days and then clear up.”