At the end of this module, you will be able to:
- State where fire ants can be found in the United States
- Describe fire ant appearance and behavior
- List some ways to avoid being bitten and stung by fire ants
- Explain proper first aid for fire ant bites and stings that cause minor symptoms
- List some severe symptoms of fire ant stings
- Explain proper first aid for severe fire ant sting symptoms
- Explain proper first aid for people with insect sting allergies
The following key questions are answered in this module:
Where in the U.S. are fire ants found?
Primarily in the Southeast and smaller pockets of the Southwest.
How can one avoid being bitten and stung by fire ants?
Avoid their mounds; know what they look like; be careful and observant while working; and wear long, protective clothing.
What should I do if I'm being bitten by fire ants?
The first thing to do is to briskly rub the ants off your body. They'll be holding you with their jaws while stinging you, so you'll have to rub actively to get rid of them.
What are other steps of first aid for minor reactions to fire ant bites and stings?
Wash the area with soap and water; apply ice or cold compresses; and give the person antihistamines.
How can I know if someone who's been bitten by fire ants is allergic?
Start by asking the person. You can also look to see if the person is wearing a medic alert bracelet and/or carrying an injector.
What should I do if someone's been bitten and stung by fire ants and is having a severe reaction due to allergies?
Call for medical assistance; see if the person has an injector; if the person does have an injector, inject the person to help calm the reaction; and stay with the person until medical care arrives.
Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:
Symptoms from fire ant stings can range from minor to severe and can even cause death. The best thing to do is to avoid being bitten and stung. This often comes down to wearing appropriate clothing, knowing where fire ants tend to live, being alert and watchful, and staying away from the ants. In most cases, these bites and stings require only minor first aid. In other cases, however, bites and stings require immediately getting the person to emergency medical assistance. Prevention begins by knowing if there are fire ants where you live and work. If there are, know how to avoid them and how to provide first aid, especially for more serious reactions.
Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:
- WebMD – www.webmd.com
- WebMD First Aid - http://www.webmd.com/first-aid/tc/fire-ant-stings-topic-overview
- Mayo Clinic – www.mayoclinic.org
- Mayo Clinic First Aid - http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-insect-bites/basics/ART-20056593
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) www.cdc.niosh.gov
- NIOSH topics - http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/insects/default.html
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) – www.osha.gov
- OSHA Quick Card - https://www.osha.gov/Publications/rodents_snakes_insects.html