Fire ants are considered as aggressive insects and capable of biting and stinging, resulting to illness or even death especially if an individual is stung several times or allergic to the sting or bite. There are certain tips that you should be familiar with in order to protect yourself from fire ants and the appropriate steps to take if you are bitten by one.
Are you bitten or stung by a fire ant?
Once a fire ant stings, it injects venom into your skin that causes a burning sensation. The site of the bite will initially appear as a red bump. In case you were bitten by an imported fire ant, the bump typically resembles a blister or a white-headed pustule that can last for a day or two. Take note that this is a sure sign of a fire ant sting since it is a unique characteristic of the imported fire ants. Bites from a native fire ant will not turn into a white pustule; nevertheless it can cause a severe reaction as well.
Protection against a fire ant
Once you sense a fire ant creeping on your skin, simply scrape it away and stay away from the area. Take note that fire ants will pivot their head in order to deliver its bites and sting if it stays on the skin surface and will continue stinging even if its venom is gone. If the fire ant is on your skin, it will bite using its jaws and attach firmly.
Always stay away from ant mounds and do not play or disturb ants. When picking up items from the ground, check the area for ants or ant mounds.
If you are working outdoors, always check the area for ants or ant mounds. It is important to wear long pants, boots and socks when working outside. Individuals who are allergic to bites or stings should bring an EpiPen all the time.
In one study conducted, wearing socks is an effective protection for fire ants. Any type of socks can reduce the number of fire ants that reaches the skin. Fire ants could not sting through the socks as well. With this in mind, children who live in fire ant infested areas must wear socks or cotton tights that will serve as protection for their lower legs.
What to do if you are stung by a fire ant
For first aid treatment, it depends on the location and reaction to the sting. Initially, the affected area should be washed with soap and water. Avoid using alcohol when washing the area.
For mild stings, apply ice wrapped in cloth on the bite site for 10 minutes and then remove if after 10 minutes and then repeat the process. Individuals who have circulatory problems, the time the ice applied on the skin should be lessened to prevent possible damage to the skin.
In case you are stung by a fire ant, it is best to take an antihistamine. Individuals who experience severe chest pain, sweating, nausea, difficulty breathing, swelling and slurred speech, it is important to seek medical care right away.