Fire ants are now found in various households, yards, and other public places in the country. These ants are not originally from the United States, but they are brought to the country through cargo ships traveling from South America to Alabama during the 1930s. For this reason, fire ants have been inflicting painful stings to unsuspecting victims throughout the years.
The stings delivered by fire ants are itchy and painful. They inject venom that results in itching, inflammation, and redness of the skin. When a person gets bitten by this ant specie, he will suffer from discomfort as small red welts start to develop, followed by a clear blister. The blister will then turn cloudy after a few days and the area will start to itch and become painful. If you have been bitten by fire ants, here are a few first aid treatments you can follow.
How To Treat The Stings Delivered By Fire Ants
- Move away from their nest and get the ants off. Fire ants deliver their painful stings when a person accidentally disturbs or steps into a fire ant nest. Once you start feeling stings, the most practical thing to do is to move away from the site. You must also know that these ants won’t stop biting unless your remove them; thus, you need to get the ants off by picking them one at a time.
- Wash and disinfect the sting area. The next thing you need to do is to bathe the bite site with clean and sanitary water and disinfectant soap for at least two minutes. After patting the bite area dry, you can then apply betadine to disinfect it. If betadine is unavailable, you can use rubbing alcohol.
- Neutralize the venom. The next thing you need to do is to apply something that can neutralize the poison. Here are some home remedies you might want to try:
- Cold compress: Applying a cold compress onto the bite area will reduce inflammation and pain.
- Ammonia: This is considered as a very effective home remedy for fire ant bites. You can apply it to the bite area using a cotton ball or a paper towel. The ammonia will reduce the itching and sting within seconds.
- Vinegar and baking soda: These two remedies are also recommended to soothe the pain from the fire ant sting.
- Take antihistamine or apply a hydrocortisone cream. Aside from applying home remedies, you can also consider taking an antihistamine to alleviate the pain and itching. Applying hydrocortisone cream can also ease the swelling, redness, and itching. As a result, the risk of infection will be reduced.
A few hours after getting bitten, the swelling will eventually subside but blisters might develop. As a reminder, you must avoid popping the blisters to avoid infecting the area. In case the blister does break, clean the area using soap and water, and observe any signs of infection. If the bite area starts to discolor and if you observe leaking pus, it might have become infected. If so, immediately seek medical attention.
Allergic Reactions To Fire Ant Bites
There are some individuals who are allergic to the venom of fire ants. Allergic reactions may comprise of:
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
- Severe swelling of the bite area
- Anaphylactic Shock
If you start to experience any of the symptoms listed above, seek emergency medical treatment. If left untreated, allergic reactions can lead to death.