Ant bites and ant sting: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

Ant bites and ant sting can cause skin lesions, pain, and even severe reactions.


Causes

Most ants are harmless to humans, and few ants sting or bite humans. Some ants are with a venomous sticker in their tail connecting to the venom gland in the body. When stinging, the stinger can pierce the human skin and release the venom. Some ants do not have venomous stinger but bite humans and inject the venom into the wound through their mouthpart, and their saliva are also venomous. Ants do not sting or bite humans under normal circumstances, unless they are disturbed.

Figure 1 fire ant

Figure 2 large black ant


Signs and Symptoms

There are irritation, burning sensation, erythema, papules, wheals after ant sting or bites, and the sting or bite mark or petechia in the center can be seen. Sometimes vesicles can be formed. Fire ants and some large black ants are very aggressive and attack in groups after being disturbed. In addition to extensive skin lesions, there may also be systemic symptoms such as dizziness and palpitation.

Figure 3 ant stings or bites

Figure 4 ant stings or bites


Diagnosis

If there is a history of ant stings or ant bites, the disease can be diagnosed.


Treatment

There are usually not stingers in the skin, so rinse with water and topical mupirocin ointment are appropriate.

If there are severe reactions, antihistamines and glucocorticoids can be administered. If there is anaphylaxis, adrenaline, dexamethasone, and gentamicin may be required.

Patients with arrhythmia can be treated with propafenone 35mg intravenously and potassium supplementation.