Don’t be fooled by how tiny fire ants are. Despite their size, these ants are true outdoor menaces whose stings pack a serious punch. If you’ve ever been stung by one, you know the white-hot burn and seemingly endless itching left in their wake — it’s, hands down, an experience you won’t forget anytime soon.
Fire ants, unlike hornets, wasps and other stinging insects, are particularly threatening because they live in hard-to-spot underground mounds — and they’re prepared to swarm at a moment’s notice. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, red and black imported fire ants are present in more than 260 million acres in the southern U.S. And if you live or visit any of these hotspots, it’s critical to recognize the signs of a fire ant sting. It’s also essential to know and immediately recognize the difference between a regular and allergic reaction plus, of course, how to treat these painful bites.
Fire Ant Sting Symptoms
First, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of a fire ant sting. They include:
● Swelling or a hard hive at the site
● Anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that can be life-threatening
Granted, fire ant stings can vary significantly from person to person, and the severity often depends on how many times he/she was stung. Since fire ants are prone to swarming, it’s not uncommon to wind up with several stings all at onces, versus bees and other insects that tend to sting once.
The most common sign? An itchy hive or lump that appears at the site of the sting. These typically subside in 60 minutes or less and, after, slowly turn into a small pus-filled blister. If you spot a sting, wait for it to blister then wash the area gently with soap and water — it’s important not to puncture the blister or rub hard enough to open it. When broken, blisters can lead to a secondary bacterial infection that may require additional medical attention and/or increase the risk of scarring. Topical corticosteroid ointments and oral antihistamines can also be used to treat itching and burning as the sting heals.
Treating Fire Ant Stings
After cleaning the area, the ACAAI recommends a two-prong approach to treating fire ant stings:
● First, immediately treat underlying symptoms of a serious reaction
● Second, use immunotherapy as a preventative action avoid a future allergic reaction
If your reaction or a loved one’s reaction seems more severe, it’s important to watch for signs of anaphylaxis. For some, a fire ant sting can trigger a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires emergency treatment. Should signs of an allergic reaction or severe reaction surface, go to the E.R. immediately. Doctors can administer powerful drugs such as epinephrine, antihistamines and IV fluids to combat the reaction. In some very severe cases, patients may even require further hospitalization and observation.
Reducing Sensitivity to Fire Ants Through Immunotherapy
An allergist-immunologist may be able to leverage whole body extract immunotherapy — a specialized treatment that uses the ant’s entire body including venom. This approach can lessen a patient’s sensitivity to fire ants, reducing their risk of having a major allergic reaction in the future. This is especially helpful for people that live in areas with increased fire ant populations and that are prone to being stung. If you think you may be allergic to fire ants or live in an area they’re present in, contact your allergist to learn more.
Got Fire Ants? Get in Touch!
Spend time outdoors? Then you’re at risk of being stung by fire ants. A single fire ant mound can quickly grow into dozens of hills, becoming an infestation that wreaks havoc on your yard and threatens your family and pets. Foundation Pest Control knows how hard fire ants are to eradicate. That’s why we use specially formulated products that will effectively kill fire ant colonies and are safe for use around children and pets. Click here to schedule a free estimate and to get the fire ants out FAST.
Share this Post