A fire ant sting allergy requires immediate attention. Generally, it is managed in a 2-step approach – emergency treatment of the symptoms of a reaction and preventive treatment of an underlying allergy.
A severe case of fire ant sting allergy can rapidly progress and necessitates immediate medical care. The emergency treatment usually includes certain medications such as epinephrine, antihistamines and even intravenous fluids, corticosteroids and oxygen. Once the condition of the individual is stabilized, close monitoring in a healthcare facility is required.
An injectable epinephrine is often given as an emergency medication in managing an allergic reaction. Those who have previous reactions and rely on epinephrine should bring one always. Remember that a single dose might not be enough to counteract a reaction. Due to this, immediate medical care after a fire ant sting is vital.
Dealing with normal reactions to a fire ant sting
The severity of a fire ant sting tends to vary from one individual to another. Take note that fire ants sting multiple times especially if a mound is disturbed. Each ant will bite and grasp on using its mandibles and sting several times. If not taken out, it results to small semi-circular outline of stings. Since the ants grasp on the skin using their mouthpieces, they should be dragged out separately and not easily brushed off while stinging.
Generally, fire ants can cause an itchy, localized hives or lumps at the sting site that eventually settle within 30-60 minutes. A small-sized blister develops within 4 hours that appears to be occupied with pus-like substance after 8-24 hours. Nevertheless, it is dead tissue and there is a small chance for infection to develop unless it is opened. Once they heal, the lesions might leave behind scars.
The treatment is aimed on preventing a secondary bacterial infection that might arise if the pustule is broken or scratched. The blisters should be cleaned using water and soap to prevent an infection. If the blister is accidentally opened, keep the area clean always. A topical corticosteroid ointment or oral antihistamine can be used to reduce the itchiness linked with these reactions.
What is whole body extract immunotherapy?
Continuing treatment for the allergy is known as whole-body extract immunotherapy which includes the whole body of the ant. This is considered as an effective program that can prevent allergic reactions to a fire ant sting that might arise in the future.
The immunotherapy involves the gradual administration of increasing doses of extract to lower the sensitivity of the individual to the fire ant sting. This lowers the risk for a future allergic reaction.