Fire ant bites are extremely painful and can be potentially fatal to small animals, children and adults with allergic reactions. Most fire ant bites, however, are just painful reminders to steer clear of these nasty critters. The best way to avoid fireant bites is to begin fire ant control measures today.
Fire ants attack quickly when disturbed. By emitting a pheromone, the ants coordinate a strike on their victim with lightning speed. Fire ant bites are actually a combination of a bite and a sting from the fire ants venomous stinger. Ants bite the skin with their powerful jaws and then arch their back to insert their stinger into the flesh, injecting venom. Fire ants will usually hold on to the skin with their jaws and continue stinging in a circular motion. Some fire ants can sting 10 times in one try. Fire ant venom is quite toxic and causes extreme discomfort and a distinct burning sensation.
Reactions to fire ant bites can range from simple itching and swelling to formation of pustules, to rare cases of anaphylaxic shock.
Fire ant stings usually develop into a reddish hive that subsides within 1 hour. Within a few hours, a small blister will appear at the point of each ant sting. Within 24 hours a small pustule (pus filled blister) will form. The pustule will rupture 2-3 days later with the possible formation of a scar.
To avoid infection and scarring it is important to avoid scratching or breaking the pustule. Treatment is focused on keeping the sore clean and applying an inti-itch, hydrocortisone cream.
To treat fire ant bites, begin by elevating the injured area. To reduce swelling and relieve pain, apply ice or a cold compress. Be careful not to break the blister.
Please see your doctor if the swelling progresses or if infection is evident.
Anaphylaxis is a allergic reaction to fire ant stings. Symptoms include swelling of the face and throat, shortness of breath, hives, and loss of consciousness. If any of these symptoms are apparent, go to a hospital immediately.
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