Although many more aggressive ant species will bite, the main reactions are caused by the sting and the resulting injection of venom into the skin. Additionally, aggressive ants such as fire ants and harvester ants are medically important because their intended targets are usually stung multiple times, and in some cases are stung multiple times by a single ant.
What are the common symptoms of ant bites? Most sting symptoms are minor and involve moderate to severe pain that will subside within a few hours. Other symptoms such as redness and swelling occur around the sting site. However, depending on the age of the person stung, the number of bites inflicted, and the degree of allergic reaction to the ant’s venom, more severe symptoms and possibly anaphylaxis may occur.
Anaphylaxis is a complex reaction, but it is simply a life-threatening allergic reaction that can occur within a concise amount of time after exposure to the allergen. Signs of an allergic reaction may include sneezing, wheezing, hives, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sudden anxiety, dizziness, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, itching or swelling of the eyes, lips or other areas of the face, rapid loss of blood pressure, fainting and coma. Although not always the case, someone who is very allergic to wasp and bee stings can be very allergic to ant stings. Always seek the advice and assistance of a physician in the event of a bite or sting from ants.
Ants bite and sting for two reasons: either they protect their nest and their nest mates, or they bite and sting other animals that they consume as prey. Fire ants, as well as other aggressive ants, will also sting pets. If bitten by an ant, pets can hold their leg or paw so as not to put pressure on that limb when moving. Another sign of ant bites in pets is frequent licking of the bite site. Fire ant bites on pets usually appear as small bumps that appear on parts of the animal’s body with little or no hair, such as the ears and belly.
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