Ants are insects that are found in almost every part of our planet, except certain remote islands and the Antarctica. More than 12,000 species of these insects have been classified thus far. Among this high number of species there are ants that only bite, ants that bite and spray chemicals, and ants that both bite and sting. These insects typically bite or sting only when they feel their colony is in danger. Some of the most aggressive species include harvester ants, fire ants, red pavement ants, and black carpenter ants. Unlike most other species, these can cause some unpleasant symptoms that may lead to allergic reactions.
Even though you probably won’t experience a lot of pain or discomfort after an ant bites a human, there is still a possibility that you may need to seek medical attention. In case the symptoms you’re experiencing are severe, you will need to speak to a doctor right away. Despite the fact that ant stings and bites are usually harmless, you may experience swelling, itching, and pain.
Symptoms of ant bites
Sometimes, you won’t even experience any symptoms after a certain species of ant bites you. Keep in mind that there are bites that will only cause minute pain, which you may not even notice. However, you will most likely experience mild irritation after getting bit by ants. Other common symptoms include swelling, redness, pain, and itching. In most cases, these symptoms will subside within a few hours.
Certain people also experience allergic reactions from ant bites and stings. However, this is more often the case with stings than with bites. Although most people experience only mild allergic reactions, there are cases when the reactions can be severe and even life-threatening. Some of the most notable mild symptoms are nasal congestion, hives, redness in the eyes, rashes, and hives. On the other hand, severe reactions include dizziness, difficulty in breathing, swelling of the face, chest pain, vomiting, and low blood pressure. Even if you’re only experiencing mild symptoms, it’s still important to talk to your physician and see if any treatment is necessary. If you start experiencing any severe symptoms, then you should immediately go to the hospital.
It’s also common to experience certain moderate to severe localized symptoms including burning sensations, blisters, swelling, and pain. Whether you experience localized symptoms or not depends on the species of ants that bit or stung you. Fire ants are a good example of ants that can cause moderate to severe pain.
Treating ant bites on humans
People who are allergic to ant venom can experience severe and life-threatening symptoms, which is why they should immediately seek medical attention after being bitten or stung by ants. Nevertheless, if you’re only experiencing minor symptoms, then you will most likely be able to treat the wounds at home. The first that you’ll need to do is clean the bitten area of your skin with water and soap. To successfully reduce swelling, you will need to start applying cold compresses.
In case you’re experiencing itching, you can apply a paste of water and baking soda to relieve the symptoms. If you start developing pustules and swelling, then you shouldn’t scratch the area, since doing this may lead to an infection.
There are quite a few home remedies that can help you relieve symptoms at home. For example, applying lemon juice to an ant bite on your skin will reduce irritation and pain. If you want to decrease the swelling and itching that you’re experiencing, then you can try putting honey on the bitten area of your skin. On the other hand, applying vinegar on your skin will reduce irritation and lower the risk of infection. Another recommended home remedy you can use to reduce swelling is to mix some salt and water, and rub this liquid on the affected parts of your skin.
No matter the type of symptoms you start experiencing, the most important thing is to act as swiftly as possible. If you notice that home remedies aren’t really helping you, then you should instantly contact your health care provider.
How to avoid being stung by ants
In order to prevent bites and stings from dangerous species like fire ants, you will first need to learn to always pay attention to where you’re stepping. In most cases, people get stung and bitten by ants because they’re not watching their step. This leads some people to accidentally step on an ant hill, which will cause hundreds of these tiny insects to come out and start attacking you.
A good way to prevent ant bites on humans is to wear protective clothing. In other words, having unexposed skin will greatly reduce the risk of being bitten or stung by ants. If you accidentally step in a mound, then your legs are more likely to get bitten, which is why it’s important to wear socks and long pants if you find yourself in an ant infested area. If you want to decrease the risk of ant bites even more, then you can spray insect repellent on your shoes and clothing.
Nevertheless, if you start noticing ants on your body, then you shouldn’t panic. The first thing that you’ll need to do is leave the place where the ants started attacking you in order to avoid dealing with even more of them. You should then begin brushing them off as soon as possible. If you still feel like there are a lot of ants on your body, you should remove your clothing and shake it out. Keep in mind that ants are known to hide in folds of clothing for a long time, so make sure to carefully check it.
You can also try formulating a few natural ant repellants by using ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen. For example, you can apply cinnamon sticks or garlic cloves to your skin, since both produce an odor that will keep ants away. Another ingredient that you can apply on your skin to keep ants away is vinegar. It’s a good idea to simply put vinegar in a spray bottle and use it when necessary.