Managing your horsefly bites this summer

Horsefly bitesCC: James DeMyers at Pixabay

If the thought of a horsefly bite grosses you out, you’re probably not alone. Fortunately, those pesky black bugs rarely inflict significant harm upon humans. In many cases, it’s rare to experience more than a bit of local swelling and itching. If you’d rather avoid horsefly bites, we’re here to show you how to enjoy an itch-free summer.

What are horsefly bites?

As the name suggests, they’re bites from horseflies. Horseflies are common throughout North America and they’re more likely to attack during long hot summer days. Although they enjoy feasting on lots of mammals, humans and horses appear to be particularly popular.

The chances are, you’ve already experienced a horsefly bite but you haven’t noticed. Or, you’ve attributed the signs to something else. When a horsefly bites you, you’ll feel a sharp pain that’s similar to being stung by a wasp or bee. After it buzzes away, you’ll notice a small red welt that’ll become itchy.

What’s the worst that happens when a horsefly bites you?

It’s very rare that you’ll experience anything beyond momentary pain and a bit of itching. In an incredibly small number of cases, you may become dizzy, although that might be a psychosomatic symptom rather than a measurable one. Theoretically, if you scratch at the bite enough you could get a small local infection. However, that’s entirely within your control and responding to the bite appropriately should prevent it from becoming an issue.

How do you treat horsefly bites?

If you believe you’ve been bitten by a horsefly, rinse the area with some lukewarm water. Consider using a spray or cream that contains antiseptics and antihistamines. In doing so, you’ll reduce your risk of infection and stop it from itching too much.

Keep an eye on the horsefly bite area for a few days. In the vast majority of cases, they go away without medical intervention. However, if you notice redness, heat, and swelling, you may have a small infection. This is more likely in those who are immunocompromised, but you may want to speak to a medical professional for further advice anyway.

How can you prevent them?

If you love to spend lots of time outdoors, you’re not likely to relish the thought of these bites. Consider using an everyday bug spray if you’re in a rural area or spending lots of time in your yard. Another popular tactic is to wear light and long clothing, as this appears to deter all types of flying bugs.

Some people swear by using creams such as Avon Skin So Soft, as there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that it keeps biting bugs away. Finally, you may want to try something with a citrusy scent, as this will mask your natural odor and hide you from bugs.

Overall, horsefly bites aren’t worth worrying about. But in the name of comfort, take some preventative measures to stop them this summer.

About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.