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Can Bite Away Stop Insect Bite Itch?
If there’s one thing everyone dreads about spring, it’s the arrival of hordes of mosquitos and the infuriating itching that comes from their bites. And no matter how much DEET or how many citronella candles we employ, some of those buggers always get through. Once bitten, the proteins in the mosquitos’ saliva trigger an immune response, causing the red, itchy bumps we all know so well.
The traditional treatments for mosquito and other bug bite itching have been calamine lotion and hydrocortisone creams, along with oral or topical antihistamines. But if you haven’t found these to work well for you, or you don’t want to apply chemicals or greasy lotions to your skin, there is another option – concentrated heat treatment. Research has shown that applying a targeted, short high-heat zap to the bite can reduce the swelling and itch of insect bites almost immediately.
While there are a number of consumer bug bite heat treatment products out there, the Bite Away device is specifically covered by existing clinical research (with the caveat that they were sponsors of the study linked above), and is both a CE-certified medical device and FDA-cleared for use in the US. Shaped like a large pen, with a small ceramic disk to apply heat to the bite and powered by two AA batteries. It’s available over-the-counter in-store, as well as on Amazon, for a retail price of $29.99. Pressing a button delivers either a 3 or 5 second burst of intense heat (around 125F) to remove the swelling and itch.
Does Bite Away work?
I tested Bite Away with my family during the summer months here in New York City and on our annual fall pilgrimage to the mosquito haven of coastal Maine, which gave us plenty of opportunity to use it on real bites. Overall, it was very effective at quickly reducing the itch from the numerous bites we fell victim to. And if the first zap didn’t do a good enough job, a second zap would do the trick – because Bite Away is drug/chemical-free, you can use it is often as needed.
The one downside to Bite Away is that the 3 or 5-second heat treatment is somewhat painful. It only hurts for the few seconds Bite Away is in contact with your skin, and the 125F heat isn’t hot enough to actually burn you, but you’ll feel it. In my opinion, a few seconds of mild burning to get rid of hours of annoying itching is well worth the tradeoff, and my tween/teen children had no issues tolerating the quick sting (though younger kids may require a little more convincing, at first).
In short, I would definitely recommend Bite Away as a treatment option for most people’s medicine cabinets or to pack for any trip where bug bites are a threat. It will certainly be returning to Maine with my family this fall.
[mage credit: Techlicious]