There are a lot of pesky insects out there, but fire ants are one of those that can turn a fun afternoon into an itchy, burning stream of misery. Fire ants are one of the most aggressive types of ants out there, and an attack from it typically causes instant and intense pain. They are stinging ants that leave a pheromone that attracts more ants to attack, so fire ant bites often come in clusters.
Symptoms of Fire Ant Bites
The venom of a fire ant contains at least 46 proteins. For most people, the stings only produce minor skin irritation. You can feel an intense pinching or burning pain immediately after being stung. The pain is short-lived and lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. After that, there will be itching and burning that can be mild to moderate. They leave a mark that are round, red and pus-filled, which can look like pimples. They can heal on their own without treatment.
All the symptoms mentioned above are a common response to ant bites, but there are some people who develop more severe reactions. If you do suffer from intense burning and itching, difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, swelling of tongue and/or throat, confusion, loss of consciousness – these aren’t normal. It is essential that you seek out emergency medical help right away and do not attempt to use a home remedy to treat it.
Home Remedies to Fire Ant Bites
If you’ve gotten fire ant bites and you didn’t suffer from any severe allergic reaction, you can try to treat it with simple and affordable home remedies such as these:
1. Clean with soapy water
Before using any treatment, you must immediately clean the affected area using soap and water to wash off any venom from the skin and to remove dirt and debris, which may cause infection. You can use a mild, antiseptic soap to clean the area gently, then pat it dry with a soft towel. Keep the affected area elevated to help minimize swelling.
2. Use cold compress
A cold compress is simple yet one of the best remedies to stop itching caused by fire ant bites. This can help reduce swelling and alleviate itching by numbing the affected area.
Put some ice in a plastic bag, then wrap it in a thin towel. Apply the wrapped ice on the affected area for 5 minutes. Take a break for a couple of minutes and place the cold compress again for 5 minutes. Do it as needed during the initial 24 hours after the sting. Always wrap the ice and never put it directly on the skin because it can cause frostbite.
3. Use baking soda paste
Baking soda can help reduce your anguish over your fire ant bite. It can help lessen itching and reduce redness. It can work as a natural acid neutralizer to help reduce the effect of the ant’s venom, which can help reduce the risk of infection and alleviate itchiness.
Simply mix one teaspoon of baking soda with just enough water to make a paste. Apply the mixture on infected skin. Leave it on your skin for 10 minutes, and rinse it off with lukewarm water. You can repeat the procedure if the discomfort persists.
4. Use apple cider vinegar
Apple cider is a wonder kitchen staple that offers internal and external health benefits. The acidity of this liquid can take the stinging sensation out of a fire ant bite. As you rub apple cider vinegar on your skin, you allow its acidic composition to neutralize the alkaloids and the allergenic proteins from the venom. It also has antiseptic properties that can reduce swelling and inflammation.
Get a cotton ball and pour raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Rub the cotton to the affected areas. If you can, you can directly apply apple cider vinegar unto your skin. Wait for 30 minutes before rinsing it off and washing with soap and water. Pat the skin dry with a soft towel. Reapply unto skin after a few hours if the symptoms persist. If you have sensitive skin, dilute the apple cider vinegar with equal amount of water before applying to your skin.
5. Apply raw honey
A couple drops of raw honey on an ant bite can cut down redness, itching and swelling. Plus, the moisturizing property of honey can create soothing benefits for your skin.
Simply apply raw honey on the bitten area of your skin and leave it on for 30 minutes. Keep watch and don’t take a nap on that 30-minute treatment, because the honey on your skin might attract ants, which is of course, the last thing you want. Rinse it with cool water after. Repeat the procedure as needed.
6. Apply toothpaste
Like baking soda, toothpaste can help reduce the itching and burning sensation that comes along with fire ant bites. The cooling menthol in the toothpaste is the thing that works best for this remedy. However, it’s best to stick to regular white toothpastes and avoid using gel-based pastes.
Dab a little of the toothpaste on the affected area and leave it on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with cool water. Repeat as needed. If you want a cooling agent that doesn’t need to be rinsed, you can use Vicks VapoRub or other menthol-based ointments used for relieving itchiness from insect bites.
7. Make an oatmeal bath
Oatmeal is known as a common home remedy for different types of skin irritations that has any kind of itching and inflammation. It contains anti-irritating and soothing properties that provide instant relief.
For use on a fire ant bite, use two cups of oatmeal to a bath tub filled with lukewarm water and stir thoroughly. Soak your body into this water for at least 30 minutes. Repeat this two to three times a day until the symptoms subside.
8. Crush aspirin and apply it on skin
Aspirin isn’t only taken orally. You can also apply it topically as its anti-inflammatory properties can help relieve itching and swelling from a fire ant bite. Aspirin can help neutralize the venom to promote quick recovery.
Using the back of a spoon, crush an aspirin tablet into powder form. Add a few drops of water to make a paste. Apply it on the affected area, then leave it on for a few hours. Then, rinse it off with lukewarm water. You can repeat once or twice, if needed.