The stinging, itching and swelling from the venom of some of the world’s tiniest workers can be extremely irritating and have you seeking a remedy quickly. When it comes to ant bites, there are 5 amazing remedies you should know about. Our list of remedies can help you to find the relief you need from common items found in your home.
General Information about Ant Bites
The severity of ant bites can vary from one species to another. Some ants are more aggressive and inflict numerous bites while others only inflict one or two bites. The wound inflicted might last for a couple of hours or for a much longer period of time. For most people they do not pose a major health danger, but for those who are allergic, they can cause severe, life-threatening reactions. Here are the common symptoms of an ant bit:
- Redness and swelling around the area of the bite.
- A white head forms where antibodies have attacked the allergen.
- Pain, sting and itching around the area of the bite.
- Severe reactions can include sneezing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sudden anxiety, dizziness, wheezing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the eyes or lips, rapid loss of blood pressure, fainting and coma.
- Where the last on this list are uncommon, unless someone has an allergy to ant venom, the other symptoms are pretty common to all victims. The tendency or risk of anaphylaxis following an ant bite is often more prevalent in persons who are known to be allergic to wasp and bee stings as well. These persons tend to carry or keep an EpiPen close by at all times.
Preventing Ant Bites
- Those who are susceptible to a severe reaction to ant bites should consider preventive measures when they are knowingly going into areas or participating in activities where the likelihood of encountering ants is probable. Here are three preventive measures to keep in mind:
- Fresh peppermint leaves destroy an ant’s smelling sense. Chop and boil a handful of fresh mint leaves, allow the water to cool and apply the tea made from the leaves to your body.
- Cinnamon or garlic also destroy an ant’s sense of smell, so they don’t like the scent. Boil cinnamon sticks or peeled garlic cloves similar to above and apply the tea on your body.
- Black pepper also repels ants, but it tends to be an irritant when applied to the skin. However, the aroma is so strong that just placing it in your pockets or shoes (where it isn’t in contact with your skin) can do the trick.
Being prepared and preventing ant bites is certainly your best option, but should you be bitten, we have 5 amazing remedies which are proven to be effective at relieving the symptoms and conditions.
5 Amazing Remedies for Ant Bites You Should Know
1. Fresh Basil Leaves
Crushing fresh basil leaves and applying the natural oils within over ant bites is an effective means of relieving symptoms and promoting healing. Studies in France identify two compounds which assist in reducing inflammation and encouraging immune response in the skin tissue; estragole and limonene. Thymol and camphor are additional compounds which also help to relieve symptoms and promote healing.
2. Aloe Vera Gel
It is hard to find anyone who is unaware of the healing properties of aloe vera when it comes to burns, bites, and stings. Comparative studies conducted between freshly extracted aloe vera gel and 1% hydrocortisone proved to have equal effectiveness when applied to mosquito bites in a Thai study. This potent compound, due to the presence of natural sterols tryptophane and phenylalanine, as well as a rare compound called anthraquinone, is also has a similar effect on the symptoms and condition associated with ant bites.
Another effective remedy for the relief of swelling and itching of ant bites is oatmeal. Studies at Johnson and Johnson Labs report that the avenanthramides found in oatmeal, from which avena sativa oil is extracted have a significant impact on the reduction of inflammation as well as the associated itching and pain which goes along with it. In addition, its vitamin and mineral composition help provide nutrients which encourage skin rejuvenation to the affected area.
4. Black Tea
Applying black tea bags to ant bites also has proven benefits. Pain and swelling are reduced due to the active ingredient, tannic acid, which is found in black tea. The same healing properties which are often sought for the swelling, itch and irritation of poison ivy, poison oak or stinging nettle relieve can be found in the tannic acid of black tea, according to Australian studies. Black tea bags applied to the affected area can also help to draw out the venom.
According to researchers in Greece, when it comes to ant bites, smearing a little honey over the affected area can bring positive results as well. Honey contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties which are essential in combating the inflammation associated with an ant bite. Not only do these compounds fight the symptoms, but they help to prevent further infection as well as boost your body’s immune response to the invading venom.
A Note of Caution
Besides the convenience of grabbing something that you already have available in your kitchen to treat ant bites, natural remedies tend to be less likely to cause negative side effects or additional irritation near and around the affected area. In contrast, many over-the-counter or prescribed creams and medications do run greater risks. Here is a closer look at some of those medications and their side effects:
- Common side effects of Hydrocortisone Cream include: burning, itching, blistering and thinning skin. Severe allergic reaction to this cream can include nausea, headache, dizziness, insomnia, and profuse sweating as well.
- Calamine Lotion, which is generally safe, can also cause similar skin reactions as hydrocortisone creams, but can also add anaphylaxis to the list.
- Zinc Oxide is another compound often useful for this purpose. It exhibits similar side effects to the two above.
We have already cautioned you about the possible dangers of ant bites for those who have allergic reactions to bee and wasp stings. If you are susceptible to these reactions, then do not fool around with an ant bite, get to an emergency health care professional as quickly as possible. Also, ask questions and educate yourself about the possible side effects of medications typically utilized for treating stings and bites.
When it comes to ant bites, most of us will only need something to get rid of the irritating symptoms of itching, swelling, and pain, but in those cases where the venom from these tiny little workers can cause a severe allergic reaction, medical help is necessary. To relieve your symptoms and help promote the healing of ant bites, make use of one or more of the amazing remedies we listed above. Also, add your questions, comments or success stories to the section below.