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Inquiries over mosquito bites soar

Practice nurses may soon see a rise in the number of people suffering from mosquito bites after NHS Direct reported a surge in inquiries seeking advice.

The telephone helpline has seen a massive increase in the number of people asking about treatments following attacks by the insects.

During the first 12 days of August last year, the service received 1,157 calls about mosquito bites.

But in the same period of this year, there were 1,491 calls - a rise of 28%.

Experts believe the change could be down to the current UK weather conditions, which are helping the insects to spread.

A combination of warmer temperatures and heavy rain can encourage mosquitos to breed rapidly.

The NHS Direct website has also seen an increasing number of hits to do with mosquito bites.

An article on insect bites was viewed 17,434 times during July and early August, compared with 12,316 in the same period of 2006.

Helen Young, clinical director and director of nursing at NHS Direct, said: "When an insect bites it releases a form of saliva that can give rise to inflammation, blisters, and irritation.

"These can vary depending on the type of insect involved, and the sensitivity of the person who is bitten.

"For example, a bite may result in a small, itchy lump that lasts for just a few days, or it can lead to a more serious reaction."

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