A horsefly bite is caused by a type of fly that belongs to the Tabanidae family of insects and is called a horsefly. It is also referred to as a gadfly or a March fly. There are more than 3000 species of horseflies that are present throughout the world. Three of the most famous ones are the striped horsefly, the green-head horsefly and the black horsefly.
Horseflies can be found living in wet or swampy areas that are near water bodies, like rivers or lakes. They can be abundantly found in sunny and warm climates. They are essential in the pollination of various different types of flora. The male horseflies suck on pollen and nectar, while the female horseflies suck on the blood of various animals. A horsefly bite on humans can result in considerable pain in addition to increased risk of developing blood-borne conditions and infections. The diseases transmitted by a horsefly bite can take many days to be completely treated.
Horseflies possess mandible-like, jagged scimitars or joints with a convex shape. They use them to puncture and break open the skin on animals as well as humans. The uppermost layer of the skin is sliced off and the resultant blood is then licked off by the horsefly. A horsefly bite which causes the flesh to be sliced off causes needle-like, prickly sensations on the victim and hence it can lead to significant amounts of pain. At times a horsefly bite can cause even more discomfort than a bee sting.
Symptoms of a horsefly bite
Some of the signs and symptoms of a horsefly bite are as follows:
- A horsefly bite can result in the immediate formation of a reddish bump on the skin. The horsefly bite causes the release of histamine on the affected site, which leads to inflammation and itchiness.
- A horsefly bite can lead to the development of allergic reactions such as wheezing, skin rashes and hives
- There may be reddish or pinkish swelling of the areas around the eyes or the lips accompanied by itchiness
- When the site of the horsefly bite experiences intense pain and redness along with release of pus, then there may be infection of that area. Immediate medical attention is necessary in such instances.
Horsefly bite treatment
It is necessary to understand the effects of a horsefly bite to be able to reduce the pain and avoid infection. Bites from most types of insects tend to get cured within a few days. However, a horsefly bite can take a lot longer to be fully treated. It is important to seek immediate medical attention to prevent infection and avoid complications of a horsefly bite.
One may follow the steps given below to treat a horsefly bite:
- A horsefly bite needs to be immediately washed with water and an antiseptic soap. Then the affected area needs to patted dry with a clean towel or a dry tissue paper. In case, one is unable to do this immediately after the horsefly bite, then one can apply one’s own saliva on it. Human saliva has the histanin protein which has healing properties and can thus delay or prevent swelling of the affected site.
- Do not scratch the horsefly bite even if it itches, as scratching can result in increased risk to infection
- One can consume an antihistamine medication to reduce the pain and discomfort
- The application of benadryl cream or hydrocortisone cream on the site of the horsefly bite can also aid alleviation of itching as well as the swelling that follows the bite.
- An effective home remedy to soothe the pain caused by the horsefly bite is the application of a wet towel immersed in hot, salty water on the affected area.
- The pain can also be reduced by applying aloe vera juice or vinegar on the site of the horsefly bite. The swelling can be eased by applying an ice pack on the bite.
- After applying any of the above listed topical medications, one can cover the horsefly bite with a loose bandage. In case, the affected individual experiences breathing problems or other severe allergic reactions to the horsefly bite, then immediate medical care is vital.
Prevention of a horsefly bite
One has to eliminate horseflies from the immediate surrounding and environment to prevent horsefly bites. This can be done by:
- Catching horseflies with a aid of a horsefly trap
- The use of certain insecticides to eradicate them can prevent a horsefly bite. It is considered as one of the best ways to eliminate horsefly menace in a neighborhood.
- When one is visiting places that are known for the presence of horseflies, then adequate clothing should be worn. One can also apply horsefly repellent lotions on the exposed areas of the skin
- The horseflies can also be repelled with the use of garlic supplements and thus horsefly bites can be prevented.
Horsefly Bite Pictures