Fire Ant StingsSkip to the navigation
Fire ants are wingless insects that belong to the same family of insects as bees and wasps. Fire ants are found in the southeastern and south-central United States, especially along the Gulf Coast. They tend to attack and sting in great numbers.
A fire ant attaches itself to a person by biting with its jaws. Then, pivoting its head, it stings from its belly in a circular pattern at multiple sites. Symptoms of a fire ant sting may include:
- A painful raised bump that becomes a pus-filled blister in 6 to 24 hours and lasts for up to 10 days.
- Skin at the bite site that dies and leaves a scar or bump.
- A severe life-threatening allergic reaction.
- A toxic reaction when there have been 20 or more stings.
- Redness and swelling extending beyond the sting site.
- Serum sickness, a rare reaction to stings. Flu-like symptoms and hives begin 7 to 14 days after an insect sting.
Home treatment can help relieve pain and prevent infection. Severe reactions require emergency medical treatment.
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Current as ofMay 27, 2016
Current as of: May 27, 2016
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.