Management of fire ant stings

Fire ant stings can cause intense pain and even trigger an allergic response in some individuals. It is important to note that fire ants are found all over the globe, usually in tropical areas.

Stings can occur after exposure to the fire ants. Remember that these ants are generally non-invasive but will bite and sting if provoked. An alkaloid-based venom is injected by the ants.

What are the signs?

The typical indications of fire ant stings might include:

  • At the site of the sting, there is redness, swelling, itchiness, pain and burning sensation.
  • This is followed by blister formation that are filled with pus after a few days to a week. After this, scabs might be noted.
  • Infection is likely to occur if the site of the stings is continuously scratched.
  • If an allergic reaction arises, it can cause difficulty breathing, excessive sweating, nausea, chest pain, rapid heart rate and swollen throat that leads to difficulty with speaking and swallowing.

Remember that the seriousness of the symptoms is also based on the number of ant bites sustained.


Apply an ice pack on the affected area for mild cases.

First aid for fire ant stings

If an individual has been bitted by fire ants, the following must be done:

  • Move or transfer the individual away from the area of the fire ants.
  • Apply an ice pack on the affected area for mild cases.
  • An over-the-counter topical cream such as hydrocortisone can be applied on the site of the fire ant stings.
  • An antihistamine can be given for an allergic reaction to the fire ant stings.
  • Monitor the area for any signs of infection.

If an allergic reaction arises especially a severe one, call for emergency assistance right away. While waiting from the emergency team, the following measures can be done:

  • Assist the individual in administering a shot of epinephrine if the medication is on hand.
  • After a shot of epinephrine is given, provide the individual with an oral antihistamine.
  • The individual should be positioned lying down with the legs slightly raised than the level of the head.
  • If vomiting is observed, turn the individual on his/her side.
  • If the individual is not breathing or there is no movement, perform CPR right away.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on fire ant stings is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and properly manage fire ant stings by taking a standard first aid course with CalgaryFirst Aid.


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