How To Soothe And Prevent Insect Bites

Insect Bites

We thought it was coming to an end, but the heatwave is set to last through until August. Water companies have put a proposed hosepipe ban in place for next month and the sales of fans has gone through the roof. While most of us have been enjoying the warmer climate, it has come with some downsides. This week, the NHS revealed that they have received twice the amount of 111 calls regarding insect bites compared to this time last year. Why? The warm, sticky weather is the perfect breeding ground for horse flies, midges, ants, you name it.

“Horseflies like hot weather in general, so they may become more active around breeding sites and farms in hot weather,” Dr Daniel Whitmore of the Natural History Museum’s insect division told the BBC. “Obviously, by wearing fewer clothes in hot weather we expose ourselves to bites more and become more attractive to the flies.”

Usually you feel a bite before you see it. Give an itchy patch 15 to 20 minutes and a hard, red lump tends to develop. Most bites tend to be nothing more than incredibly itchy, unsightly and irritating, but experts have warned that horsefly bites can become infected if not looked after properly.

If you want to prevent insect bites altogether, plan ahead and buy some vitamin B1 supplements. Studies have shown that this particular vitamin acts as a natural repellent by encouraging your skin to produce an odour that puts insects off. Don’t worry though, this smell isn’t detectable by humans. It’s also a non-toxic option to deet sprays. Shabir recommends taking one Vitamin B1 500mg, £21.99 by Solgar Vitamins, every day two weeks before your holiday and while you’re away.

For those who haven’t been as organised and are fed up of being bitten by the pesky insects, look to Mrs White’s Unstung Hero Mosquito Repellent, £20. It’s a non-toxic spray that offers instant protection from midges. To soothe and de-itch existing bites, invest in Thyme Out, £18. This insanely talented tonic helps to soothe insect bites and stings, as well as ease prickly heat and sunburn. It’s a summer essential and belongs in every bathroom cabinet. Plus, it also comes with a complimentary travel spray, so you can put it in your handbag or hand luggage.

Unsurprisingly, the heatwave has also seen a rise in cases of sunburn across the UK. To help ease your sunburn and other issues that arise in the hot weather, read Shabir’s guide to The Most Common Holiday Concerns Solved.

The Trouble With Male Doctors

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The NHS says 65 percent of consultants are male. If that’s the case I feel sure that I must have seen at least 50 percent of them. I’m exaggerating, and perhaps the area of medicine I fall under, or into – rheumatology, is not that interesting for women (frankly, it’s not even that interesting to me). Either way, in three years (the last month or two withstanding) I have seen precisely one woman in a consultation about my condition and she was a default because the incumbent had ‘a rush on’ that day. Read More…

Your Right To See Your Medical Records

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Q: I want to look at my medical records, but my GP surgery seems reluctant to let me. Can they stop me from seeing them?

A: No. The Data Protection Act 1998 means that everyone is entitled to see their medical records, according to the Patients Association patient’s guide (patients-association.com, tel: 0845 608 4455).

Your records consist of all information relating to your physical or mental health recorded by healthcare professionals, including GP s, hospitals, dentists and opticians, both NHS and private. It also applies to any similar records held by your employer.

To date, getting your GP and hospital records has involved applying in writing, paying a fee (up to £50) and waiting (up to 40 days).

Soon, however, the Department of Health will launch an Information Strategy, which signals ‘a change in mindset, so that health and care professionals, organisations and systems recognise that the data in each of our own care records is fundamentally about us’.

By 2015, GPs, who hold the majority of our records, will be required to give us online access to them. This will expand across all health and care records. Read More…