Being bitten by ants can be itchy, painful experience. But being bitten by fire ants can be even more itch, painful, and even more dangerous. It is because fire ants not only bite but also leave venomous stings. This venom consist of toxin and protein, pain or burning sensation at the bitten area is caused by the toxic part and the protein may cause some allergic reaction to some people.
Symptoms of fire ants bites/ stings
There are symptoms which can help a person knows if he or she has been bitten by fire ants or not. By knowing the symptoms, hopefully, he or she can have a proper treatment of the stings.
These are general symptoms of any type fire ants bites:
- The bitten areas develop painful and itchy bumps, but usually the pain only lasts for a few seconds to few minutes, but the itchy sensation is left.
- When the bumps disappear (usually it disappears in 1 hour), blisters may occur at the same site within 4 hours.
- The next day, the blisters are filled with pus.
The symptoms of allergic reaction
Beside the general symptoms, there are some symptoms which indicate allergic reaction to fire ants venom caused by protein part of its venom. These symptoms will develop within a few minutes after a person is bitten. The most dangerous ,but fortunately rare, allergic reaction is anaphylaxis.
The symptoms of allergic reaction of fire ant venom are :
- Swelling and itching also occur at the other areas beside the bitten area.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.
- Chest feels tight.
- Feeling like there is something stuck in the throat
- Throat and tongue may swell. The tongue feels thicker.
- Trouble swallowing
- In case of a large number of sting, a person may have a hallucination.
- A drop in blood pressure
How to treat fire ants bites/stings
Usually, most people who have no allergic reaction do not need any medical treatment. The fire ants stings can be treated at home by following these steps :
- Wash the bitten area with soap and water.
- In order to reduce swelling, compress the bitten area with cold compress for about 20 minutes, take a break, and compress again.
- Apply anti-itching products such as hydrocortison cream on the sting area to get rid from the itching.
- Use a triple antibiotic ointment to prevent any infection in an injury which occurs as the result of stratching.
You also can use these home remedies as soon as possible to get rid from the itchy sensation:
Using baking soda
Baking soda is well known as a neutralizer of any acid, and pH level, so that helps to sooth itchiness.
What to do :
- Make a paste :
To reduce the itching, you can combine baking soda and water into a small container, mix it properly until you get a good paste then spread it over the itchy area. Let it dry, then rinse with warm water.
- As a bath : fill in bathtub with warm water, pour a half cup of baking soda to the water and soak in.
Lime or lemon
What to do :
- You can extract one lemon or lime to stop the itching and apply it on the bites. (if your skin is sensitive, you can combine it with water or some drops of coconut oil).
- If you are feeling a burning sensation, that is normal because it means that the acids in lemon is working to the bites.
Vinegar also help to control the itching. It acts as an antibacterial to stop the itching and preventing some bad effects on the bites caused by bacteria.
What to do :
Put a few drops of apple cider vinegar (ACV) to a cotton ball or if you got many bites, you can add some drops onto a small and clean towel.
If you are bitten by many ants and those bite you on some part of your body, so that you get many bites, you can take an oatmeal bath to cure the itchy sensation.
It is important to know that the oatmeal we have here is not the oatmeal which fill our bowl when we had breakfast in the morning. It is made from oats with good quality which have been made into a very fine oat powder.
Beside oatmeal, there are two more ingredients which are added to your bath : olive oil and baking soda.
What to do :
- Fill the bathtub with warm water.
- Pour 3 spoons of olive oil to the water
- Add ¼ cup of baking soda to the water
- Add a half cup of finely ground oat powder
- Soak in for 15 to 20 minutes.
Note : if a person has done all of these steps but the symptoms of fire ant stings on his body do not disappear or get worse even after a few days, further medical treatment may be needed. He should look for medical help.
How about the allergic reaction? How to treat the symptoms?
The steps have been mentioned above can be done if a person has no history and has not shown any allergic reaction of fire ants venom. But if a person known has a history of an allergic reaction to fire ants venom, and one or more symptoms of allergic reaction is noticed, here is a first aid to treat the bites :
EpiPen or epinephrine injection.
- If a person known has anaphylaxis reaction, he or she may has a epiPen : an injection device contain epinephrine. Inject the epiPen into the outer thigh (upper leg) when waiting for the professional help or the medical help is not close by.
The injection helps to make the blood vessel constricts, reduces swelling and increase the blood pressure (since one of the reaction to the venom is a drop in blood pressure). It also prevents any further reaction. If there is no provement, do not ignore it and seek for medical help immediately, since it can be fatal.
- If it is the first time a person showed such an allergic reaction, unfortunately, the only treatment is getting a medical help. Go to the hospital to get the injection and another treatment.