A fire ant is a venomous and aggressive insect with pinching mandibles found in their heads and a sharp stinger on the rear side of the body which is attached to a venom sac. Generally, stings of the fire ants usually happen on the legs or feet after accidentally stepping on their mound.
- At first, instant burning sensations followed by itching and raised and red swelling that develops on the skin that last for about 4-6 hours.
- Formation of pustules with blisters for a week.
- Sometimes a large swelling can develop and last for 6-12 hours. Swelling with severe itchiness and eventually becomes painful. In one or two day the swelling becomes enlarged and becomes hot and severely painful.
- Lastly, anaphylaxis happens which is a severe allergic reaction within 30-40 minutes after the bite. The whole body becomes itchy, difficulty with breathing and weakness.
Symptoms of fire ant stings
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Development of hives, swelling and itching
- Problems with breathing and chest tightness
- Swelling of the tongue, throat, lips or swallowing difficulties
- Anaphylactic shock and result to blackout, dizziness and cardiac arrest if not treated immediately.
- Wash the affected area using mild antiseptic soap to wash off venom, dirt or debris present in the skin to prevent any development of infections. Pat dry the skin using soft towel and apply olive oil to moisturize the area.
- Remove embedded stinger in the skin by scraping it using a credit card. Avoid pinching the stinger to prevent releasing more venom in the area.
- Elevate the affected area above the level of the heart to lessen the swelling and the pain. If the legs are affected raise it in couple to pillows to keep it elevated.
- Apply cold compress to the area to lessen the itchiness of fire ant stings. Put some ice cubes in a plastic bag and wrap it in towel before placing to the area for at least 5 minutes at a time on the first 24 hours after the sting. Another alternative is running cool water over the affected area for a few minutes.
- Oatmeal is rich in anti-irritating and anti-inflammatory properties that lessen the inflammation and the itchiness of fire ant stings. Fill a bathtub with lukewarm water and add 2 cups of colloidal oatmeal and mix it thoroughly. Soak the affected areas in the mixture for at least 30 minutes, 2-3 times every day.
- Inject epinephrine immediately if available for breathing difficulties, severe swelling and changes in consciousness.
- Prescribed hydrocortisone injections or cream for severe swelling and pain and redness of the skin.
Disclaimer / More Information
The material posted on this page on fire ant sting is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs and how it is managed by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.