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 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.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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