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February 2, 1970

From Gnats to Cold Sores

JAMA. 1970;211(5):830. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170050064023

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To the Editor:—  The common blackfly (biting gnat; order Diptera; family Simuliidae) has long been a plague to explorers, hunters, fishermen, etc, in the spring and summer in northern climates. Not only do these flies attack in droves and bite voraciously, but the bite may lead to large weals and inflammatory lesions with severe pruritus which may last for days. Some 20 years ago I learned that the inflammatory reaction and pruritus could be regularly controlled by the topical application of an antihistamine paste made by grinding a 50-mg tablet of tripelennamine, (Pyribenzamine) hydrochloride in cold cream. A 2% topical ointment or cream is now available which serves the same purpose.Recently a neighbor of mine was so impressed with the efficacy of this remedy for blackfly bites that she applied it to an emerging cold sore (presumably herpes simplex) and duly reported equally good results: lessening of pain within