Are horsefly bites dangerous? The 5 signs you've been bitten

Horseflies are everywhere at the moment, even after the heatwave cooled down. These tiny flying insects have sharp teeth and their bite can be pretty painful. But how do you know if you’ve been bitten by a horsefly specifically, and are horsefly bites dangerous? reveals everything you need to know.

Horseflies are pretty big for a fly – they’re about 1cm to 2.5cm in size.

They’re dark in colour, but their upper parts are normally white with some vertical black lines.

This creature loves to be out in the day when it’s humid and they can be found near water, woodlands, grassy areas, and rural farming areas or stables.

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A more severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis, is rare but possible and is an emergency.

You should call for an ambulance at any sign of anaphylaxis, including the following symptoms:

  • tongue and throat swelling
  • swollen face, lips, hands, or feet away from the site of the bite
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea
  • feeling very unwell
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing

People who experience a severe allergy to horseflies will usually have had a horsefly bite in the past and the reaction happens because the immune system has adapted to protect them against any further instances but is oversensitive to future bites.

People who have severe allergies may need to carry an emergency epinephrine injection for the treatment of future bite reactions.

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