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The use of concentrated heat after insect bites/stings as an alternative to reduce swelling, pain, and pruritus: an open cohort-study at German beaches and bathing-lakes

Authors Mueller C, Grossjohann, Fischer

Published 15 December 2011 Volume 2011:4 Pages 191—196


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Christian Müller1,*, Beatrice Großjohann1,*, Lutz Fischer2,*
1Department of Medical Science and Operations, RIEMSER Arzneimittel AG, An der Wiek 7, 17489 Greifswald, 2Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Medicine, University Greifswald, Friedrich-Loeffler-Straße 23b, 17493 Greifswald, Germany
*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Swelling, pain, and pruritus are the most relevant symptoms after insect bites/stings. Glucocorticoids and antihistamines are well established in insect sting treatment. Bite Away® is a CE-certified medical device of class 2A (noninvasive device intended for administration to the body, which exchanges energy with the patient in a therapeutic manner) to reduce swelling, pruritus, and pain after insect bites/stings via non-invasive administration of concentrated heat to the skin. We therefore performed a prospective, non-interventional, single-arm cohort study with 146 volunteers using the visual analog scale (VAS) for insect bites/stings to study the reduction of swelling, pruritus, and pain. Demographic data, time from insect sting to treatment, number and duration of administrations of concentrated heat, relevant symptoms, and the development of a VAS score of swelling, pruritus, and pain on baseline, after 2, 5, and 10 minutes after administration, were registered.
Results: In total 146 subjects with a mean age of 29.4 ± 20.7 years (range 2–81) were enrolled in the study. Ninety-three (63.7%) of the subjects were stung by wasps, 33 (22.6%) of the subjects were bitten by mosquitoes, and eight suffered bee stings (5.3%). VAS score swelling decreased with statistical significance after the use of Bite Away® from 4 before treatment to 2 and 1 after 2–5 and 10 minutes, respectively. VAS pain score was 6 before treatment, 2 after 2 minutes, 1 after 5 minutes, and 0 after 10 minutes (median). VAS pruritus score was only available for 52 (35.2%) of the patients. The score decreased from 5 before treatment, to 2 after 2 minutes, and 0 after 5 and 10 minutes.
Conclusions: Locally administrated concentrated heat leads to fast amelioration of symptoms. Usually an absence of symptoms is noticeable 10 minutes after administration. Pain reduction is the dominant effect. Compared with alternatives of pruritus and pain treatment after insect bites/stings, Bite Away® seems to be the fastest treatment option available.

Keywords: insect bites/stings, swelling, pain, pruritus, concentrated heat, VAS

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