Fire ants are known to sting repeatedly. It is important to note that this species is highly aggressive if their nests are disturbed. If provoked, the ants will swarm on the intruder, anchor by biting on the skin and sting repeatedly while injecting alkaloid venom known as solenopsin.
What happens if I am stung?
Once fire ants sting, they do it as a swarm that moves up vertical surfaces if their nests are disturbed. Remember that every fire ant can sting multiple times.
When identifying stings by fire ants, check for groups of enlarged reddened spots that form a blister on the top. The stings can be quite uncomfortable and itchy as well as lasting up to a week. Some might develop a dangerous allergic reaction that necessitates medical care.
Management of stings by fire ants
For a mild reaction to stings by fire ants, cleanse the site with water and soap and wrap with a bandage. Applying an ice pack can also lessen the discomfort. Topical measures such as antihistamines and steroid creams can also reduce the itchiness and pain.
The sting and bite marks usually go away within a week. If scratched though, it increases the risk for infection that can make the bite marks last longer.
Risk for an allergic reaction
Any individual can develop an allergy to the stings of fire ants, but those who were stung before has a higher risk.
The indications of a severe allergic reaction include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
The signs typically develop rapidly after exposure. It is vital to seek emergency care if any signs are present.