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Author Topic: Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?  (Read 25580 times)

Offline Airthumbs

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I noticed that when I use the igniters, piezoelectric effect, from electric lighters and apply this to an insect bite, normally a mosquito, it stops the itching and also seems to remove any swelling.
Once I saw Boots selling a device, supposedly having a patent on it,  claiming the same results. The device boots have patented must use a similar effect. I never bought one as upon inspection it was clearly an electric lighter igniter, in a plastic case.

I've been using this technique for over 30yrs and it has always done the job.  I assume the electric charge somehow removes the cause of irritation. I would be very interested to know what is actually going on?
« Last Edit: 01/01/2011 02:08:38 by Airthumbs »


 

SteveFish

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Re: Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #1 on: 31/12/2010 21:07:13 »
I can't think of any way that this can work. The swelling and itching is a response to foreign proteins by, primarily, mast cells and tissue eosinophils. There is also the question of what extent a high voltage discharge penetrates tissue. I know that heating skin with an itchy allergic reaction can reduce the response temporarily.

I suggest doing a little science experiment. Every time you get two bites or more, treat alternate ones and mark them with a pen so you won't forget which ones are which. Try to be objective about the timing of the decline in swelling and itching and write it down. Alternate or randomize factors such as the strength of the initial itchy reaction, the position on the body, and anything else you can think of. Get 10, 20, or more paired samples (the more the better) and report back your results. Steve
« Last Edit: 31/12/2010 21:09:30 by SteveFish »
 

Offline RD

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Re: Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #2 on: 31/12/2010 21:21:31 »
Maybe the voltage causes vaso-constriction reducing blood flow. 
Either by a local effect (like Raynaud's phenomenon) or systemically by the pain of the electric shock causing a release of adrenaline.
« Last Edit: 31/12/2010 21:27:10 by RD »
 

SteveFish

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Re: Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #3 on: 31/12/2010 22:00:25 »
RD, I think he is talking about a piezoelectric spark, which isn't really painful. However, a light skinned individual could warm up some skin, to open up the capillary beds and make the skin pink from blood, and then spark it to see if the red goes away in a small area. Steve
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #4 on: 31/12/2010 22:15:00 »
Personally I find that Mosquito bites don't itch for long, and the swelling goes down rapidly.  I'd second the idea of doing a comparative study with & without treatment.

You might look at the Capsaicin/Pepper studies for pain relief, perhaps by over-stimulating the nerves.
 

Offline Airthumbs

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Re: Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #5 on: 01/01/2011 01:43:41 »
Ok folks, I found the link to the Boots device, please check this out....

http://www.boots.com/en/Boots-Bite-Sting-relief-Click-it_8212/

I also would like to add I used my electric lighter igniter to remove a skin infection on my foot.  This was either fungal or bacterial. I have no proof of this of course as I have not been able to repeat the experiment.

Of course should anyone wish to provide me with the place and the people I would be happy to conduct further research on this subject..

In the mean time please let me know if any one manages to extract the guts of an electric lighter and zap your bites with it.


« Last Edit: 01/01/2011 01:53:27 by Airthumbs »
 

SteveFish

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Re: Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #6 on: 01/01/2011 01:51:43 »
I am beginning to be concerned that this is an insertion of spam into the forum. Steve
 

Offline Airthumbs

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Re: Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #7 on: 01/01/2011 02:07:25 »
Ouch Steve! It is a genuine question and I feel that there must be a scientific explanation. I am just highlighting that a reputable pharmaceutical company has essentially nicked my idea and also that they use this idea as a solution to irritation from insect bites.  I just want to know how it works?

I don't see how you can justify saying that this is SPAM! Please explain your opinion?

Following your earlier response that failed to indicate how this works I merely provided people with more information so;
a) you know I am telling the truth
b) that this electric discharge has been supposedly scientifically tested
c) that this electric discharge does have an effect on reducing irritation.

Having said that I intend to take your advice and conduct my own research when the mozzies return in the summer, although as soon as the nettles reappear I shall try them too in the same design of experiment you suggested.

I am terribly sorry if you feel I am out of line with my direction of questioning.  Should my question in some way be deemed as SPAM I will happily agree to remove it or ask that it be removed.

PS. I tried to report myself to the moderator but it wouldn't let me!!
« Last Edit: 01/01/2011 02:38:09 by Airthumbs »
 

Offline RD

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #8 on: 01/01/2011 03:04:01 »
According to Boots the electric shock allegedly prevents itching and scratching, i.e. numbs the area ...

Quote
Boots Bite & Sting relief Click it works by giving a small plazo-electric [sic*] charge to bites and stings to relieve the urge to scratch. It is effective on bites from mosquitos, horseflies and stings from nettles.
http://www.boots.com/en/Boots-Bite-Sting-relief-Click-it_8212/#detailedInfo

Just because the product is retailled by a well established  high-street store doesn't mean the device is effective.
IIRC Boots did get into trouble a few years back for selling an electronic ultrasonic mosquito repellent which didn't work ... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4218234.stm

[* The fact Boots can't spell piezoelectric is not reassuring]
« Last Edit: 01/01/2011 03:08:49 by RD »
 

Offline Airthumbs

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #9 on: 01/01/2011 03:14:33 »
Point taken RD.

If this does somehow stop the reaction caused primarily by the release of histamine as a response to the anti coagulant injected by the mosquito, stopping the itching and scratching that often leads to subsequent infections through the introduction of bacteria to the bite site, then wouldn't it be great if people, living in areas that have poor access to medical treatment could be informed that when they finish using up the gas in an electric lighter, they can re-use it as a preventative measure to stop further infection?  In my humble opinion secondary use of an object being reused in this manner is better then the primary use it was designed for in the first place.  It could save lives!

This is providing it actually works and from my 30yrs of experience it does.  If this could save one life is it not worth investigation? When I have used the lighter igniter and it sparks across the bite site it's like you have itched it but it is so much more satisfying then an itch, it really gets the spot so to speak.... I think if it was numbness then this would wear off quite quickly requiring repetitive zaps?  Once you've zapped it a few times you don't need to zap it again. Could it be possible that the charge is somehow temporarily deactivating the local nerve endings at the site thus explaining the numbness?

Ps. sorry about my long sentences!!
« Last Edit: 01/01/2011 03:29:36 by Airthumbs »
 

Offline Geezer

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #10 on: 01/01/2011 03:21:24 »
I am beginning to be concerned that this is an insertion of spam into the forum. Steve

Steve,

I really don't think this is any sort of spam. Boots the Chemist (as it used to be known) is a very well known institution in the UK. It has thousands of retail outlets. It's highly unlikely that they would resort to spamming TNS.

Geezer.

(I'd like to speak to a gentleman assistant please  [:I])
 

Offline JimBob

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #11 on: 01/01/2011 03:25:46 »
Is it about the bugs in the 'nether' hairs?
 

Offline Geezer

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #12 on: 01/01/2011 03:28:09 »
Nice one JB!
 

Offline Airthumbs

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #13 on: 01/01/2011 03:37:59 »
JB, I tried zapping them but it didnt work!  ;D
 

SteveFish

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #14 on: 01/01/2011 03:42:34 »
I would like to see a little more science.
 

Offline Geezer

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #15 on: 01/01/2011 03:54:04 »
I would like to see a little more science.

Quite so, but I don't think Airthumbs (funny name that) was expecting The Spamish Inquisition either.

(Mind you, nobody ever expects The Spamish Inquisition.)
 

SteveFish

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #16 on: 01/01/2011 04:03:32 »
I don't know where the inquisition comes in. Where is some science instead of speculation and websites. I did a search and could only find patents and businesses, no research.
 

Offline Geezer

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #17 on: 01/01/2011 04:38:42 »
I don't know where the inquisition comes in. Where is some science instead of speculation and websites. I did a search and could only find patents and businesses, no research.

Steve,

My allusion to "The Spamish Inquisition" was intended to be a lighthearted way of letting you know that it's a teeny bit inappropriate to accuse another member of Spamming. The preferred approach is for a member to report a post that they think is spam.

When they do that, all the moderators receive an email to alert them of potential spam.

I hope you would agree that is a much better process than having mystery meat flying all over the forum.


 

Offline Airthumbs

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #18 on: 01/01/2011 05:08:29 »
Where is some science instead of speculation and websites. I did a search and could only find patents and businesses, no research.

Science comes from speculation does it not SteveFish, I mean people who ask questions and hypothesise?
I have not been able to find any information on the web either but just because this is not there does not mean something does not exist.  Also science comes from observation, ask Newton about that one.  I am simply observing what effect something seemed to have and raising the issue amongst what I hope to be far more intellectual scientists then myself for answers.

Could a reason be that the lack of availability on research for this topic is that the Patent prevents it?

Geezer, I saw that Monty Python sketch about two weeks ago!!  :D

« Last Edit: 01/01/2011 05:17:30 by Airthumbs »
 

Offline CliffordK

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #19 on: 01/01/2011 06:49:13 »
Could a reason be that the lack of availability on research for this topic is that the Patent prevents it?

Geezer, I saw that Monty Python sketch about two weeks ago!!  :D

Oh...  Was that while traveling in your DeLorean?
 

Offline Geezer

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #20 on: 01/01/2011 07:11:05 »
Oh...  Was that while traveling in your DeLorean?

Not at all. He had borrowed my Clan Crusader.
 

SteveFish

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #21 on: 01/01/2011 18:03:15 »
Airthumbs, science comes from a reasoned hypothesis and subsequent experimental tests of the hypothesis. In the, apparent, absence of any preexisting research, you have two good experiments to try yourself.  Perhaps if you would describe what to use for your sparker and how to use it, somebody else might also take up the experiment.

It is important to remember that most ailments, including bug bites, go away by themselves. This fact is the basis of most alternative medicines and why simple honest comparisons between treatment and no treatment are needed. The no treatment group in this instance would be bites in which a sparker only made a noise identical to the real one. The honest part would be having the person being treated blindfolded and sparked by a second person, and a third person to collect the itch and redness data. With everybody not knowing what the other two did, this would be a triple blind study. Normally a simple pilot study, as I outlined in a previous post, should be done first. If it doesn’t work even when you expect it to, then that is it. If it does work then all the controls are needed for a second study.

Patents protect the owner of the patent (once it has been tested in civil court) from someone else who would make money with the same idea. The patent application doesn’t even have to prove that a device actually works to patent it. Patents have absolutely no effect on research because researching an idea is not a commercial venture. Steve
 

Offline yor_on

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #22 on: 01/01/2011 18:53:12 »
Science huh :)

All sort of things can come to be science. Airthumb's observation one of them, although there is needed a clinical testing process to prove it beyond doubt. But that one was new to me, never heard of it before, and if correct a good observation by you.
 

Offline Airthumbs

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #23 on: 01/01/2011 18:53:43 »
SteveFish, I look forward to following your advice and will collect the data on the pilot study as soon as conditions allow me too.

The sparker that I use is extracted from an electric lighter, I found this picture that shows the sparker at the bottom.



Pressing the button can be difficult sometimes as it requires a certain amount of pressure!

Here is one I just extracted from a lighter I just got that had run out of gas....


« Last Edit: 01/01/2011 20:08:09 by Airthumbs »
 

Offline humpty

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #24 on: 22/04/2011 15:37:09 »
The shock causes vessels to shrink, preventing some effects of histamine (it's the histamine that causes the itching by vasodilation afecting nerve endings).
Anti-histamine medicine also stops the itching.
A cheaper method is to tape over it with sticky or scotch tape. This prevents the surface from expanding, again reducing the effects of vasodilation.


 

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Can electric lighters stop insect bites from itching?
« Reply #24 on: 22/04/2011 15:37:09 »

 

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