Fire Ant Bite

A fire ant bite appears as a red lump in the skin. It sometimes has a tiny hole in the center. Reactions to these bites can be severe. A severe reaction is called an anaphylactic reaction. With a severe reaction there may be symptoms of wheezing or difficulty breathing, chest pain, fainting and raised red patches on the skin (hives) that itch. There may also be nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, cramping or diarrhea. Usually after 24 hours a small sterile pustule (a tiny sac in the skin filled with pus but no germs) develops. There may be itching, burning, and redness.


  • Apply a cold compress for 10 to 20 minutes every hour for 1 to 2 days. This will reduce swelling and itching.

  • After 24 to 48 hours, a warm compress may be soothing and will help decrease swelling.

  • To relieve itching and swelling, you may use:

  • Diphenhydramine, available over-the-counter. Take medicine as directed. Do not drink alcohol or drive while taking this medicine.

  • Hydrocortisone cream may be applied lightly 4 times per day for a couple days or as directed.

  • Calamine lotion with diphenhydramine may be used lightly on the bite 4 times per day for itching or as directed. Do not take with oral diphenhydramine.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.


  • None of the above helps within 2 to 3 days.

  • The area becomes red, warm, tender, and swollen beyond the area of the bite or sting.


  • You have a fever.

  • You have symptoms of an allergic reaction (wheezing or difficulty breathing).

  • You develop chest pain, fainting, or raised red patches on the skin that itch.

  • You develop nausea, vomiting, cramping, or diarrhea.

These may be early signs of a serious generalized or anaphylactic reaction.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.