I don’t normally take selfies but I thought I’d better take some photos of these bites:
I took these pics today but the March Fly [also known as horsefly] got me yesterday. Lucky for me, I’ve finally learned how not to have these bites turn into horrible, pus-filled welts:
- Do NOT scratch.
- Do take an antihistamine immediately
If you’re like me and get a mild[ish] allergic reaction to insect bites, these two rules are golden because, the more you itch, the more the inflammation or infection or whatever it is, spreads.
So not scratching contains the problems, but it doesn’t stop the itch. Unfortunately, that itch is like ten mosquito bites rolled into one, and it doesn’t just go away after an hour or two. Or at least, it doesn’t for me. Those selfies show the bites almost 24 hour after they happened. I haven’t scratched – thanks to the antihistamine – but the bites are still red and angry. And they still itch.
For me, the most effective antihistamine is Telfast 12 hour. I use it during the day because it doesn’t put me to sleep. At night I have to use an old-school, sleepy-time antihistamine called Polaramine. I also dab a topical cream called Solocite on the bites. Solosite is a hydrating, healing gel, but it also seems to reduce the itch.
And now a word about the March Fly [also known as horsefly]. This is the first time I’ve known what bit me because this is the first time I’ve actually seen what bit me. In the past, I’d get bitten – often through my clothing – without ever knowing what type of beast got me. All I knew was that it usually happened while I was weeding the lush Spring grasses. Thanks to the strange, almost monsoonal bouts of heavy rain we’ve had this Spring/Summer, this is my third bout of the itchies.
As I said though, this time I actually caught the mongrel in the act. I can’t have felt the first few nips [I have 5 bites] but I sure as hell felt the last one. It was quite sharp and when I looked down at my leg, I saw something that looked like a black house fly but quite a bit bigger, like a blowie [Bluebottle]. It also made a kind of low-pitched rumble rather than the normal irritating buzz. Also unlike the blowie, this thing left tiny droplets of blood on my legs.
After applying my version of first aid, I hopped onto Papa Google and discovered that the female March Fly [or horse fly] cuts a hole in your skin and injects saliva into the hole to stop your blood from coagulating too quickly. Then it feeds. You, on the other hand, react to some protein in the saliva and develop a terrible itch.
I suspect I have an unusually severe reaction to this pest, but on the off chance that others do too, I hope this post proves useful.
cheers from a not very happy