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9 August 2013, 14:27 | Updated: 9 August 2013, 14:32
The East of England Ambulance Service is asking people to think before calling 999 when they get bitten or stung by insects this summer.
The NHS Trust says it received 15 emergency calls from people who had been stung by wasps or bees yesterday (Thursday).
None of the calls were to people who had suffered a severe allergic reaction to the sting and no-one required transport to hospital or further treatment from ambulance crews.
Consultant Paramedic Marcus Bailey said:"“Most insect bites and stings, although they can be painful, are not dangerous and can be treated at home.
In order to help reduce the volume of 999 calls and to improve the availability of ambulances to those members of the public who are suffering from serious illnesses and injuries, we’re urging people to consider whether their sting is really an emergency.
In the majority of cases, stings can be treated at home in the first instant.
If your symptoms persist over several days then we’d advise you to contact your GP.
Alternatively your local pharmacist may be able to advise you further on what treatment would be best for you."
Tips from the East of England Ambulance Service on treating wasp or bee stings:
To treat a bite or sting at home, try washing it with water and applying a cold compress to help reduce itchiness and swelling.
For bee stings, you can remove the sting itself with tweezers.
If it’s painful, over-the-counter tablets such as antihistamines and paracetamol can help.
There are also creams and sprays available at the pharmacist.
Naturally there are some cases when someone will suffer a severe allergic reaction to a sting.
If there is swelling or itching anywhere else on the body after being bitten or stung, or if the person is wheezing or have difficulty swallowing, they may need emergency medical treatment so it’s vital in these cases that 999 is dialled as soon as possible.