If you live in a region with fire ants, you already know that these pests are more than a common outdoor (and sometimes indoor) nuisance. Unlike many other ant species that are relatively harmless, fire ants are aggressive and easily agitated. When disturbed, the colony attacks, inflicting painful and potentially fatal bites on people, pets, and livestock.
Fire ants generally swarm their victims, causing multiple simultaneous stings. Most people who are stung experience a painful pinch followed by a burning discomfort on the affected area. The pain is short-lived, but intense, quickly accompanied by itching and irritation that may range from mild to excruciating. Following a fire ant attack, you may notice bumps, lesions, and redness on your skin that may resolve itself in a few hours or linger for several days.
If you are allergic to fire ant venom, it’s critical to seek immediate medical attention. Some common allergic reactions to a bite include shortness of breath, struggling to swallow, vertigo, and nausea. A severe allergic reaction may require long-term treatments to counteract the venom’s residual effect.
If you don’t have an allergic reaction to a fire ant attack, there are a multitude of natural home remedies to counteract the pain and discomfort. Some easy treatments include:
Hot (But Not Too Hot) Water
As soon as you’ve been stung, run the affected area under water that is hot, but not so hot that it burns your skin. Submerging your bite in warmer water neutralizes fire ant venom, quickly reducing the itching and stinging.
Several essential oils may provide a natural remedy to fire ant venom. Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Basil, and Wintergreen have properties that may help to reduce pain, swelling, irritation, and burning.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar offers several internal and external health benefits. Rub this soothing elixir on your skin, allowing its acidic composition to counteract the venom’s alkaloids. Bonus: apple cider vinegar also touts antiseptic properties that reduce inflammation and swelling.
No vinegar on hand? Baking soda can also help reduce your fire ant anguish. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with just enough water to create a paste. Apply your concoction on infected skin, allowing it to stay on your bites for ten minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.
Oatmeal has long been hailed as an effective cure-all for a slew of skin irritations. For use on a fire ant sting, pour two cups of oatmeal into a tub of lukewarm water, stirring thoroughly to distribute throughout the bath. Soak for at least 30 minutes, repeating as necessary until symptoms subside.
At Go Green, we believe the best remedy for fire ant bites is eliminating the fire ants!T