If a fire ant has ever bitten you, you know how itchy the bites are and how painful those bites are. And now that summer is here. As a result, you will be spending more time outdoors than indoors. And if your yard is infested with fire ants or planning to go hiking on camping, you should be prepared to handle some fire ant bites.
How to treat fire ant bites naturally
Here are some tips and tricks you can use to treat fire ant bites naturally;
Lemon juice is great for reducing the discomfort associated with ant bites. Pour lemon juice into a small bowl and apply a tiny amount to the bite or bites. Next, mix the lemon juice with baking soda and apply the paste to the bites for best results.
Mix a very small amount of water with a few teaspoons of baking soda until a paste is formed. Then, apply the mixture to your bites. Whichever option you choose, you should experience relief quickly.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Like lemon juice, apple cider vinegar’s acidity can take the stinging sensation out of an ant bite. Be sure to mix the apple cider vinegar with a little water first, and then apply it to your skin.
Honey left out on your counter could attract ants into your kitchen, which (of course) is the last thing you want. But did you know that a couple of drops of honey on an ant bite can cut down on redness, swelling, and itching? It’s true! Put a small amount of honey on your ant bites for fast relief.
As it turns out, cucumbers aren’t just good for eating: they can help with the irritation caused by ant bites, too. Take a thin slice of a cucumber and apply it to the bite in question to reduce itching.
Much like baking soda, toothpaste can help reduce the burning and itching that often comes with ant bites. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto your finger and apply it to the bite area. Again, baking soda-based toothpaste tends to work the best in this regard.
If you don’t have any baking soda available, salt is a good alternative to cut down on the swelling associated with ant bites. Dissolve some salt in a very small amount of water, and then apply it to the bite area. You’ll start to feel relief right away.
Olive oil can also help relieve an itchy, red, irritated ant bite. This is due to its oleocanthal content, a chemical that inhibits the action of certain inflammatory enzymes. So rub a bit of olive oil onto an ant bite and see for yourself!
Put ice packs on the worst clusters of fire ant stings. To use ice packs, apply with a layer of cloth, so you don’t give the skin freezer burn. Keep ice on the bites for no more than 20 minutes. If you have blood circulation issues or underlying health conditions, talk to your doctor about the best use of ice packs.
Lavender diluted with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil is extremely effective for itchiness and bites of most types. Use a rollerball bottle to roll it right over the bites.
How long do fire ant bites last?
A local reaction is the most common reaction to fire ant stings and is characterized by an instant sense of burning followed by itching and a raised, red welt on the skin that lasts for approximately four to six hours.
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Should I pop a fire ant bite?
No. Try to resist the urge to pop ant bites. This can lead to a secondary infection. It’s common for fire ant bites to develop blisters, and you should never pop a blister. If a blister is accidentally popped, you should treat it like any other cut or open wound. Keep it clean by washing it with antibacterial soap and cool water, and dress the wound to help prevent infection.
It’s normal to have a small, itchy lump, which usually improves in 30 to 60 minutes. However, within 8-24 hours, you may get a small blister filled with fluid that looks like pus.
Note: It is also important to resist the urge to scratch the stings. Scratching can open the blisters and cause infection.
Does vinegar help fire ant bites?
Yes. Vinegar’s acidity can take the stinging sensation out of an ant bite. Mix the apple cider vinegar with a little water first, and then apply it to your skin. According to research, acetic acid found in vinegar could overcome the venom of fire ants.
Does toothpaste help fire ant bites?
Yes. Toothpaste can help reduce the burning and itching that often comes with ant bites. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto your finger and apply it to the bite area. Baking soda-based toothpaste tends to work the best.
How to get rid of fire ant bites overnight
Most people don’t need medical treatment for fire ant stings. However, sometimes the bites might last several days. For fast relief, try the remedy options below;
- Applying cold compresses to reduce swelling – 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off
- Use hydrocortisone cream on the skin to relieve itching.
- Taking an antihistamine to manage minor, localized allergic reactions and itching
- Applying a triple antibiotic ointment to the stings can help prevent infection in stings that have been opened by scratching
- Taking an oatmeal bath to reduce itching
- Ice the sting off and on (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off). Use an ice pack, or put the ice in a towel. Don’t put ice directly on your skin, and don’t use heat.
- Raise the part of your body where you got stung to reduce swelling.
- Take an antihistamine and use a hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching.
- Washing the area with soap and running water
- Ants use their jaws to bite; hence, brushing them off your body with a towel or cloth is the best remedy to shrug them away
- Applying an ice pack on the site for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off
- Raising the part of the body where the ant bit to reduce swelling
- Applying 0.5-1% hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching
- Using a calamine lotion to be applied on the site
- Applying fresh aloe vera gel may help to soothe the site
- Applying tea tree oil that seems effective in treating the pain and itch
- Take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve pain and discomfort
- Take steroid tablets in case of severe symptoms
If the bite is very large and painful, your doctor may give you prescription antihistamines and steroids. Doctors recommend carrying an EpiPen if you have ever had an anaphylactic reaction to fire ants.
These home devices inject epinephrine immediately after a sting. They can be life-saving in the event of another allergic reaction or when a reaction occurs in an area where medical help is not accessible. Of course, you’ll still need medical care after you give yourself the shots, even if your symptoms seem to stop, to prevent a delayed reaction.
Things you shouldn’t do if you have fire ant bites
Below are some of the things that should be avoided while having an ant bite include:
- Applying ammonia solution to the site
- Applying a solution of half bleach half water
- Popping out an ant bite
- Using homeopathic medicines without consulting the physician
- Scratching the area
- Using vinegar or baking soda because they hardly help in case of a sting
- Using alcohol to wash the area
- Using astringents such as witch hazel
How to prevent fire ant bites
The following measures may be useful to prevent ant bites:
- Immediately evacuating the spot where the ant bit you
- Wearing protective clothing such as thick socks and boots while outdoors
- Avoiding working in or around ant mounds
- Using insect repellants to deter fire ants
- Avoid stamping on fire ant mounds
- Do pest control of your home if they invade indoors
- Wearing gloves while gardening
- Teaching children to spot the ant nests and stay away from them
- Periodic pest control of the house will help reduce recurrent attacks by the fire-ants and carpenter ants.
Fire Ant allergic reactions
If you get a Fire ant bite allergic reaction, call 911 right away. If you have an epinephrine shot, use it, and repeat after 5 to 15 minutes if your symptoms haven’t improved. A severe allergic reaction is rare, but it can be life-threatening.
Contact the physician if you observe the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Cramping in your gut with nausea or diarrhea
- Tightness in your chest
- Swelling of your tongue or throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat
- Swelling of the lips, eyelids, or throat
- Loss of consciousness