DOZENS of people are attending Warrington Hospital's A&E department every day because of insect bites.

Around 25 patients per day have been turned away from the emergency unit in recent weeks after being bitten by insects.

The hospital is warning residents to keep A&E free for emergencies, with insect bites easily remedied through over the counter medications in most instances.

A spokesman for Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: "After the recent warm weather, Warrington Hospital's accident and emergency department has seen an increase in people coming in with insect bites seeking treatment.

"Most insect bites and stings clear up on their own in a few hours, or two to three days.

"You can usually treat them without seeing a GP or coming in to A&E."

Residents have been advised to see their GP or to go to urgent care centres in Runcorn or Widnes if their symptoms do not improve after two or three days, if they are showing signs of an infection or if they are worried about a bite or sting.

They should only call 999 or go to Warrington Hospital's A&E department if they are experiencing dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, an increased heart rate or rapid and severe swelling of the face, mouth or throat, or if they are having difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Warrington Hospital has also issued advice for treating bites or stings without seeing a GP or going to A&E.

Their spokesman added: "To deal with any redness, swelling and any stinging or burning pain, remove the sting if you can see it, clean the wound with soap and water, apply something cold to the skin - for example a damp cloth or ice pack - and raised the hand, foot or leg if that's where the bite or sting is.

"To reduce the risk of infection, apply antiseptic to the bite or sting and try not to scratch it or burst any blisters.

"Your pharmacist can also help with insect bites and stings - they can provide advice on relieving pain with paracetamol or ibuprofen, reducing swelling and redness with antihistamines or calamine and relieving itching with antihistamines, hydrocortisone or crotamiton cream or tablets.

"These can be bought from the pharmacist without prescription."

Health chiefs have also advised that bites and stings can be prevented using insect repellents and by covering exposed skin.

Food and drink should also be covered up in order to avoid attracting insects, while residents are also advised to never disturb nests.