• Sep 18, 2019
Fire Ant Bites: Symptoms and Treatments


There are a few types of fire ants that you may encounter either in your home or on your travels. But regardless of which kind you come across, all fire ants have the ability to sting if they feel threatened. (While stings may look like bites, they are technically the product of the fire ant's stinger). A fire ant sting can be intensely painful, especially if it occurs on a sensitive area of the body. They can even be life-threatening, as some people are allergic to the venom the ant produces. Learn more about what to do if you're unlucky enough to be bitten. 

Should You Pop Fire Ant Bites?

Fire ant bites can literally feel like fire at first, stimulating your immune system to take action and protect you. When this occurs, it may lead to a pustule on your skin, similar in appearance to a pimple. However, it's not the usual pus that fills the pustule, but dead tissue that resulted from the sting. It may be tempting to pop this pustule in order to speed up the healing process, but experts warn against doing this unless it's necessary.

The more common advice is to apply ice or general topical treatments (e.g., anti-itch ointments, etc.) to help reduce the discomfort. Your body is doing what it does best — lending its natural support when you're in trouble. Unless you feel it really needs to be drained or the pustule is causing extreme pain, there's no reason to pop it. 


How to Treat Fire Ant Bites the Next Day

If you're wondering how long do fire ant bites last, you should know that it's around a few days or so. You'll need to monitor your reaction to see exactly how it's affecting your body. An itchy lump is generally what appears after 30 – 60 minutes, followed by the pimple-like blister. Some people may develop more severe swelling, but unless you're having other reactions, it's not necessarily a cause for concern.

How to treat a fire ant bite:

  • Ice: The most common advice for a sting is to numb the skin with ice (either in ice packs or wrapped in a towel) in increments of 15 minutes. 
  • OTC treatments: Antihistamines and hydrocortisone can be used to help reduce fire ant bites swelling.   
  • Isolate: If you can, isolate the area to reduce swelling. This may include raising your arm above your head or your leg above your heart. 

If you still have fire ant bites itching a week later, it may be time to call your doctor. You may need a prescription antihistamine or steroid to help your skin heal. Signs of an allergic reaction include nausea, difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, and dizziness. If you're having an allergic reaction, you'll need to call 911 immediately.


Contact Clint Miller Exterminating 

Pest control for ants starts with seeing the signs well before they attack you or your home. If you see an unexplained sandhill on your property, it could be the sign of a fire ant nest. Clint Miller Exterminating knows exactly what steps to take if you want to avoid an unpleasant encounter with fire ants. Call us today to learn more about how we can help!

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