Growing up in the rural community was almost like living with the ants. It gave me more chances of encountering ants in the backyard of the house, on the trees when I climbed them or even by the window panes when weather is not good. This meant getting crawled upon by black and red ants, worse of all getting ant bites from the red army, the fire ants.
Why do ants bite?
Most ant bites are not really painful except that of the fire ants or the red-colored kind of ants.
Ants bite when their mound or anthill is disturbed. They will surely swarm and crawl under your pants and bite every inch of your legs and body when you accidentally or intentionally destroy their mound. When this happens, it is important that you know how to treat ant bites.
How to treat ant bites
Fire ant bites can cause redness, slight swelling and itchiness on the skin. This is because fire ants spray venom that is basically composed of alkaloid and protein components. When you are stung by fire ants, it can be very painful and the sting results to a cutaneous condition characterized by small red swelling that can take several days to heal.
When bitten by ants,immediately wash the affected area with mild soap and warm water. Pat to dry.
A basic home remedy for ant bites is a mixture of baking soda and a little water to form a paste. The paste when applied to the bites can relive swelling and itchiness.
There are also external steroid ointments containing hydrocortisone, or one that has aloe vera to relieve swelling.
When itchiness continues or some allergic reaction results from the bite, take Benadryl to reduce the inflammation. Some ant bitten individuals can have over-reaction to ant bites that they feel that they are swelling all over the body. This is known as anaphylaxis and it can be fatal! Severe allergic reaction to histamine from ant bites can also cause difficulty in breathing because the mouth, airways and lungs are swollen. When treatment is delayed, then the victim can die.
However, as an antihistamine, Benadryl can cause you to feel sleepy so make sure you don’t drive or drink alcohol while taking this medication.
Don’t scratch those ant bites!
Ant bites are actually easy to heal but sometimes scratching them can cause ulceration and creates an opening where bacteria can enter. This results to large pustules with foul odor and leaking. Infection can start from a simple ant bite and you will need to see your doctor right away.