If you live in the Tampa area you know that it’s been a warm winter this year, and that the very same warm winter has done nothing to slow down Florida’s booming ant population. So, unfortunately, if you live near the country or work outdoors then you’re probably going to have a lot of bites, seeing as they’re all over the place.
Now, reactions vary from person to person, with some common ones being itching or redness, while more severe reactions such as a swollen foot or arm, or any other allergic reactions may need immediate medical care.
It’s normal to have a small, itchy lump, which usually gets better in 30 to 60 minutes. Within 8-24 hours you may get a small blister filled with fluid that looks like pus (it’s actually dead tissue). Some people have larger reactions around the sting. For example, one on your arm might cause your whole arm to swell. If you’re OK apart from that, you can start the following treatment on your own and then see your doctor.
Make sure to ice the sting off and on, about fifteen both ways, and then use an ice pack or put it in a towel, not directly on your skin. And don’t use heat.
You’ll then want to raise the part of the body where you got stung by propping it up to reduce swelling, since the bites usually happen on the legs.
Also, you can take an antihistamine or use a hydrocortisone cream to relieve the itch.
But, at the end of the day; prevention is the key with fire ants. Make sure to stay away from the ant nests, and be careful when you work around them or mow your lawn.
Then hire a trained exterminator to check for and get rid of the ant nests around your home using natural means.
Always make sure to wear shoes and socks when working outside, and to wear gloves in your garden.
Also, once you have had a reaction to a fire ant sting, you have a 60% chance of having a similar or worse reaction if you are stung again. Ask your doctor if allergy shots would help and if you should carry an epinephrine auto-injector. If your doctor prescribes one, carry two injections with you.