My neighbor asked me what the best way to treat her fire ant bites is. First some information on fire ants.
- Move away from the ant hill to a safe area to avoid more stings.
- Scrape or brush off the stinger with a straight-edged object, such as a credit card. Wash the affected area with soap and water. Don't try to pull out the stinger; doing so may release more venom.
- To reduce pain and swelling, apply a cold pack or cloth filled with ice.
- Apply 0.5 percent or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion or a baking soda paste (make with a ratio of 3 teaspoons baking soda to 1 teaspoon water ) to the bite or sting several times a day until your symptoms subside.
- Take an antihistamine containing diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Tylenol Severe Allergy) or chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton, Teldrin).
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of your lips or throat
- Faintness and/or Dizziness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Hives or swelling more than 2 inches in diameter at the site
- Nausea, cramps and vomiting
- Check for special medications that the person might be carrying to treat an allergic attack (ie, EpiPen). Administer the drug as directed — usually by pressing the auto-injector against the person's thigh and holding it in place for several seconds. Massage the injection site for 10 seconds to enhance absorption.
- After administering epinephrine (or if no Epi available), have the person take an antihistamine pill (see above--Benedryl, etc) if he or she is able to do so without choking.
- Have the person lie still on his or her back with feet higher than the head.
- Loosen tight clothing and cover the person with a blanket. Don't give anything to drink.
- If there's vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, turn the person on his or her side to prevent choking.
- If there are no signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement), begin CPR.
Fire Ants by James P Ralston, MD--eMedicine article
Insect Bites and Stings: First Aid--MayoClinic.com
Imported Fire Ants-FAQ--Univ of Texas at Austin
Diagnosing and Treating Animals for Red Imported Fire Ant Injury--Texas A & M University