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For protection against bites and stings use a natural insect repellent - a spray, cream or lotion depending on your preference - see Travel in the Family Pharmacy. For babies younger than six months spray clothes and blankets, rather than the skin directly.

If a bite or sting becomes very swollen or you have an allergic reaction, see your doctor immediately.

If you do get bitten or stung try using either of the following:

'Urtica Cream' - for intense itching and burning of bites, stings and skin rashes;

'Combudoron Lotion Spray' - containing arnica and urtica to relieve insect bites, stings and nettle rash;

'Hypericum & Calendula Cream' - traditionally used to soothe and heal cuts, grazes, bites and stings.

See Creams & Lotions in the Family Pharmacy for these products. All are ideal for your travel and home first aid kits.

Homeopathy - take a dose of Apis 30c and Arnica 30c as soon as possible after an insect sting to help prevent itching and swelling. Take Hypericum 30c and Arnica 30c for insect bites, and if a bite or sting does become inflamed, red and swollen use Belladonna 30c with either Apis or Hypericum as appropriate. Use Ledum 30c if the area becomes dark and bruised - see Homeopathy. See the Homeopathic Kits for sets containing a range of different remedies.

Take one dose three to four times a day for up to three days and see if there has been any improvement. If there has continue with the remedy, if not change the remedy. For severe symptoms take every fifteen minutes, every half an hour or every one to two hours as required.

NB. It is important to touch the pills as little as possible, ideally tipping one into the lid and then directly into the mouth letting it dissolve under the tongue if possible and also to avoid eating and drinking at the same time as taking the remedy.

The stronger the symptoms the stronger the potency required, so if you are unsure, if any of these remedies are not working, or you need a higher potency contact a professional homeopath.

NB. This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any of the products or recommendations with regard to your condition please consult your doctor. If your doctor does not approve of complementary medicine it may be helpful to find one who does.

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