Fire ant colonies are hard to destroy and when you accidentally step into or sit on a fire ant mound, you are in big trouble. Fire ants sting and can cause a lot of inconvenience and even turn your outdoor adventure into misery within a few seconds.
As fire ants attack their victims in groups, the stings often come in clusters. The symptoms begin with an intense pinching or burning pain soon after the attack. The pain is short-lived, followed by itching or burning that may range from mild to intense.
There may also be swelling, raised bumps and pus-filled lesions on the skin or spreading redness on the skin. The symptoms may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
People who are allergic to the fire ants’ venom may need immediate medical care if they develop more serious symptoms as part of an allergic reaction.
Such symptoms may include difficulty breathing, having a hard time swallowing, nausea and dizziness. In the most severe allergy cases, long-term treatments may be needed, including whole body extract immunotherapy.
But for people who do not show any allergic reaction, some simple and natural home remedies can help get rid of the itchiness as well as the irritation from fire ant stings.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for fire ant bites.
1. Clean with Soapy Water
Before starting any treatment, you need to immediately move away from the fire ant mound and try brushing the ants away from your body as well as clothes.
Then, you must clean the affected area using soapy water to wash off the venom from skin and remove any dirt or debris, which in turn will help prevent an infection.
Use a mild antiseptic soap and gently clean the area. Thoroughly pat dry the area with a soft towel, then apply some olive oil to keep the skin moisturized.
Follow this by keeping the area elevated, which will help minimize swelling.
2. Cold Compress
A cold compress is one of the best remedies to stop the itching associated with fire ant stings. It helps alleviate itching by bringing down the swelling and numbing the affected area.
- Put some ice in a plastic bag and wrap it in a thin towel.
- Apply it on the bitten area for 5 minutes.
- Take a break for a couple of minutes and repeat again.
- Do it as needed during the initial 24 hours.
You can also put the affected area under cool running water for a few minutes.
Note: Never put ice directly on the skin, as it can cause frostbite.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
For reducing the discomforts, your regular bottle of apple cider vinegar is also very effective.
The fire ants’ venom made up of alkaloids and allergenic proteins can be neutralized with the slightly acidic property of apple cider vinegar. Plus, the antiseptic and anti-itching properties of apple cider vinegar help get rid of itching as well as inflammation and swelling.
- Apply raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar directly on the affected areas using a cotton ball.
- Wait 30 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water.
- Pat dry the skin with a soft towel, then apply a light moisturizer to prevent dryness.
- If the symptoms persist, reapply after a few hours.
Note: If you have sensitive skin then dilute apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water before applying.
4. Baking Soda
To lessen the itching and reduce redness on the affected area, baking soda is a very good remedy.
It acts as a natural acid neutralizer that helps reduce the effect of the ants’ venom. This in turn lessens the itching as well as the risk of infection.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with enough water to make a paste.
- Apply the mixture generously on the affected area.
- Leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.
- If the discomfort persists, apply again after a few hours.
5. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is another common household ingredient that can be used to relieve irritation caused by fire ant stings.
Its astringent nature will provide relief from the itching and swelling.
- Put a small amount of witch hazel on a cotton ball.
- Apply it on the affected area and allow it to evaporate.
- Do this several times a day as needed.
For any kind of itching and inflammation, oatmeal is a very effective home remedy.
Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that provide instant relief from itching and reduce inflammation.
- Add 2 cups of colloidal oatmeal to a bathtub filled with lukewarm water and stir thoroughly.
- Soak in this water for at least 30 minutes.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times a day, depending on the severity of your symptoms.