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Red Ant Bites

The red ants are commonly found all throughout the southeastern and southwestern United States. This article provides information regarding the ways to treat red ant bites.
HolisticZine Staff
Red ants, also known as fire ants, can be a nuisance because they build their colonies in places like gardens, farms, backyards, and other moist places. They do not bite human beings unless disturbed. If the ants feel threatened by you in some way, they will bite, leaving you with bites all over your body. Thus, they can become major troublemakers in your gardens as they build big colonies full of thousands of ants.

Fire Ant Sting
These ants hold on to your skin when they bite. They do not bite for long, but the venom that they inject in your skin while biting, leads to big bumps and hives. The bitten area swells up, and there is a lot of itching too. After 24 hours of receiving the bite, white pus boils spring up in the affected area. Like all other insect bites, these will itch for several days and have chances of spreading if they burst open due to excessive scratching.

Treatment
The fire ants climb up your body and start attacking it simultaneously. You might not realize it for quite some time, but when you do, the damage will be already done. These bites swell tremendously and become very painful. A step by step procedure to treat these bites is as follows:
  1. The first task to do is to get all the ants off your body. Just brush them off with a brush or a towel. Do not do this by hand as they might end up biting you there.
  2. Wash the bites with the help of an antibacterial soap and cold water.
  3. To reduce the swelling, elevate the area where the ants have bitten you.
  4. Clean the affected area by rubbing alcohol or betadine. This will also disinfect the area.
  5. Apply an antiseptic cream to disinfect the bitten area. You can also apply a topical steroid cream. If you are bitten badly, take a dose of antihistamines (after consulting your doctor) to ease the swelling and pain.
  6. Cover the bites with gauze or band-aid to prevent it from spreading due to continuous scratching.
Some people develop allergies due to the bites. Therefore, if you experience severe symptoms like restlessness, difficulty in breathing, anxiety, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting, you should consult a doctor immediately.

Few Home Remedies
  • Apply an ice pack on the bites since it will ease out the pain and make you feel better.
  • Make a paste from baking soda and water, and apply it on the affected skin for five minutes.
  • Alternatively, you can apply a mixture of crushed aspirin, or meat tenderizer and water.
  • Apply aloe vera gel or tea tree oil to the bites to alleviate the inflammation.
  • Don't drain or puncture the pus boils by scratching as they will not only spread, but will also take a lot of time to heal.
  • You can consider taking a benadryl tablet if you are not allergic to it.
Red ants are one of the various types of ants whose sting causes several health issues in a person. While some may recover early from fire ant bites, there may be some who would develop allergies because of the bites. Take appropriate precautions while working in areas infested by ants to prevent getting bitten. Treat the stings completely without neglecting them.

Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.