Stop Fearing Fire Ant Allergies!

Fire Ant Allergy Relief in New Orleans

Get fire ant allergy testing and treatment in New Orleans. Dr. Reena Mehta is a board-certified allergist and immunologist that specializes in insect allergies. Ask us about fire ant allergy shots and Schedule your visit today!

Dr Mehta is a very knowledgeable and caring allergist. She was able to immediately diagnose and treat my toddler’s severe allergic reaction. She has excellent bedside manners. Her office is pleasant, staff is courteous and nice. Parking is convenient. I am very comfortable about leaving my son’s health in her hands.

– Gauravi, February 2019

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Fire ant allergy specialist Dr. Reena Mehta in New Orleans, LA
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About Fire Ant Allergies

Overview

Symptoms

Testing

Treatment

Fire ants are biting insects that bite the skin and hold on until their stinger injects venom. If you are allergic to fire ants, fire ant venom is the cause of your allergic reaction. Even if you are not allergic, fire ant bites cause a visible reaction on the skin in the form of redness, swelling, pain, and blistering. If you are allergic, the swelling and redness typically affects a larger area and tends to itch as well. Fire ant bites are known to be particularly painful. Part of the reason for this is that fire ants are able to sting their target multiple times in rapid succession by biting down with their jaw while they sting.

Fire ants are commonly found in the southern United States, including New Orleans and greater Louisiana. These territorial insects build nests of dirt in the ground, often on the edges of sidewalks or roads, and usually only become agitated when their nest is disturbed. Nests may be entirely flat or built up as mounds several inches tall. Nests may also be obscured by vegetation, making them difficult to see.

Fire ant allergy

Fire Ant Allergy Symptoms

Depending on whether or not you’re allergic, how severe your allergies are, and how much you get stung, there are several types of reactions that can occur to fire ant stings.

Non-Allergic Fire Ant Reaction

The typical reaction to a fire ant bite includes pain, swelling, and redness at the site of the sting. A pus-filled blister develops at the site of the sting within 24 hours of the sting, and although it looks like it’s infected, it’s actually a normal response to the sting and should be left alone to heal. This reaction occurs whether or not you have an allergy.

Reaction to fire ant stings on the ankle

Mild Fire Ant Allergic Reaction

Allergic fire ant reactions tend to be larger than non-allergic reactions. Symptoms include a large area of swelling, redness, pain, and itching localized at the site of the sting. Allergic symptoms occur in around 50% of individuals who are stung by fire ants, and typically present within 12 to 24 hours of being stung.

Severe Fire Ant Allergic Reaction (Anaphylaxis)

Allergic reactions to fire ant stings occur in about 1% of the population. Anaphylaxis is a whole-body allergic reaction that occurs in individuals when they’re exposed to something that they’re severely allergic to. Symptoms of anaphylaxis from fire ant stings can include shortness of breath, swelling in the throat or tongue, dizziness, stomach cramps, nausea, or diarrhea. In the most severe cases, blood pressure can drop rapidly, resulting in shock and loss of consciousness. These symptoms present immediately after exposure, and require immediate emergency medical care.

Toxic Reaction to Fire Ant Venom

It’s possible to have a severe response to fire ant stings even if you’re not allergic. Symptoms are similar to anaphylaxis, but symptoms are caused by an ‘overdose’ of fire ant venom rather than an allergic response. A toxic reaction to fire ant venom really only occurs when you take on a very large number of stings.

Fire Ant Allergy Testing

Testing can be used to confirm your fire ant allergy diagnosis. Typically fire ant allergies can be detected with a skin test using ant venom extract. Blood testing may also be used if skin testing is not viable or if skin test results are uncertain. Diagnosis is required prior to considering allergy shots.

Fire Ant Allergy Treatment

If you’ve been diagnosed with a fire ant allergy, there are steps you can take to avoid exposure, manage symptoms when they occur, and prevent future reactions.

How To Avoid Fire Ant Stings

Because fire ant stings can be quite painful, we recommend that everyone do what they can to avoid them, but avoidance is especially important if you’re allergic because anaphylaxis from fire ant allergies can be life threatening.

Watch out for fire ant mounds: Fire ants are most likely to sting if their homes are disturbed. Be mindful of mounds.

Remove fire ant mounds around your home: To effectively remove a fire ant mound, the queen ant must be killed. This can be done with commercial ant killer products. It usually takes several weeks of treatment to remove an ant colony.

Move away quickly: If you accidentally disturb a fire ant mound, move away quickly.

Cover yourself outdoors: Wear closed-toe shoes and socks outside, and wear work gloves when working in the yard. Coverings will not prevent stings as ants can quickly move to exposed skin, but they do provide a layer of protection so you can move away from the mound and remove any ants that are attached to your shoes or gloves.

Treatment for Fire Ant Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions can be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medications. Topical steroids, such as hydrocortisone, can also help reduce swelling when applied at the site of the reaction. Ice can be applied to the affected area to help reduce swelling as well.

There is no treatment to prevent or remove the pus-filled blisters that develop after a fire ant sting. Do not attempt to squeeze or drain these blisters, as this could actually prolong the healing process. Fire ant blisters usually heal on their own within three to four days as long as they’re kept clean and dry. Anti-infection ointments like bacitracin or neosporin can help minimize the chance of infection.

Epinephrine for fire ant allergy

Treatment for Severe Fire Ant Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis)

If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to fire ants in the past, you should carry an autoinjectable epinephrine device (an EpiPen). Dr. Mehta can teach you and your children when and how to effectively use an EpiPen should you need it. Please be mindful that an EpiPen is a rescue medication only, and you should still go to an emergency room if you are stung even after using an EpiPen.

Fire Ant Allergy Shots

Fire ant allergy shots may be an effective long-term treatment for your fire ant allergies. Allergy shots are often referred to as a ‘curative therapy’ because they can prevent future allergic reactions. If fire ant allergy shots are right for you, Dr. Mehta will give you shots containing small doses of the venom that you’re allergic to, allowing your body to build up a natural immunity to fire ants.

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See an Insect Allergy Specialist in New Orleans

Make sure you and your children are prepared for your next encounter with stinging insects. See an insect allergy specialist. Dr. Mehta has a reputation for developing strong relationships with her patients and being exceptionally attentive to their needs and concerns.

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Contact

Phone

(504) 605-5351

Fax
(877) 637-9467

Email
info@uptownallergyasthma.com

Location

Uptown New Orleans

2622 Jena St,
New Orleans, LA 70115

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