An ant bite is not exactly a matter of life and death…at least not for most people. If you are allergic to ant bites, congratulations – you are a part of the “privileged” minority and your allergy is probably the reason you are reading this article. The itchiness that results from an ant bite can be very uncomfortable, even unbearable.
The good news? Peace and comfort are just a simple home remedy away! Read on, then, to learn about some amazing and really effective home remedies for ant bites!
Causes of Ant Bites
Ants will usually attack when they feel they are in danger - fire ants are a great example. Some ant venom can have an extremely adverse effect, especially on people with weaker immune systems like the elderly, sick people or children, so it is important to avoid them.
Ant venom is so dangerous that it is being used by governments and military groups as a chemical agent in warfare.
Prevention of ant bites is the best treatment – more on this later. Absolutely anyone who has come into contact with ants faces the danger of an ant bite or sting, especially if he or she is in a region with a lot of ant nests. These look like mounds with different diameter lengths. Some are over 50 cm high.
Signs and Symptoms of Ant Bites
Ant bites can actually be very upsetting. They can cause more than discomfort and pain (the pain itself does not last more than several seconds). It is a single sting-like sensation, followed by uncontrollable itchiness that many find difficult to deal with.
What is more, the area of your skin that is affected will start swelling and this is simply intolerable, not to mention a serious impediment if you’re in a hurry to get somewhere.
Allergic reactions to ant bites
Now, getting down to some of the more serious stuff. Most people don’t know that they’re allergic to something before they get bitten / stung by it. There are four types of allergic reactions to ant bites: local, large local, mild systemic and severe systemic.
Local reactions are the most common – swelling, itchiness, redness and mild pain. This rarely lasts more than a day. The larger reaction affects bigger areas of skin and can last up to two days. The third type - mild systemic reactions – may involve the digestive system, causing cramps and nausea.
Finally, severe systemic reactions include wheezing, chest pain, profuse vomiting, hypotension, and angioedema among others.
1. Hot Water – No-Brainer
On second thought, this isn’t as simple as it sounds. When it comes to dealing with ant bites, it is important to use water that isn’t too hot to avoid the opposite effect. If you get burned, the ant bite will get even worse. You don’t need that with all the itching and everything.
A cup of bearably hot water
- Place the affected area of the skin under the tap in the sink or washbasin and start pouring water on it.
- At first, the itch will get more severe, but it is going to go away in less than 10 seconds! You will feel relief for about half an hour after that.
- The itch might return – if it does, repeat the process as needed. The relief will be longer every time you do this.
Note: Remove the affected area when you feel relief. You will not benefit from pouring hot water over it continuously.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar – Regular vinegar works just as well
Apple cider vinegar can help relieve ant bites – you won’t believe how great is it. This remedy will calm the irritated skin, ensuring instant relief. Vinegar has been used for medicinal purposes for ages - if you can’t get apple cider vinegar, regular vinegar will work just as well.
- One tablespoon of apple cider / regular vinegar
- One glass of water
- Add the vinegar to a glass of warm water, let it cool to room temperature and rub on the affected area of the skin.
- Do this several times a day. Again, stop when you feel constant relief, for example if the irritation is gone for more than six hours.
Note: Do not think this is all apple cider vinegar is good for. It also helps people suffering from heart problems, aids weight loss, reduces blood sugar levels and alleviates symptoms of diabetes.
3. Hand Sanitizer – Kill the itch with kindness
If you are prone to ant bites, always keep a bottle of hand sanitizer around the house. When you are bitten, put a dollop of hand sanitizer on the irritated spot – do not spare it – and let it work. It will help relieve the itchiness and pain in just a few hours.
Note: This remedy rarely works on its own – you need to supplement it with one or more of these home remedies for ant bites.
4. Lemon and Baking Soda – The effect is guaranteed
Baking soda is a great natural remedy for ant bites because it carbon dioxide, which leads to elimination of irritation. It is an antacid, relieving itchiness and skin pain by neutralizing the ant venom.
Baking soda works well with lemon for a double dose of relief. The acidity of lemon facilitates a compensatory response of the body where the pH increases, going from more acidic (low) to more alkaline (high). When dissolved in water, baking soda also increases the body’s pH and its ability to fight off ant venom.
- Some lemon juice
- A tablespoon of baking soda
- Add the baking soda to the juice of one fresh lemon and wait for it to start to fizz.
- You can add some water if you want. Stir the mix until the baking soda is fully dissolved.
- Apply to the irritated area until the ant bite signs and symptoms go away. Again, do not overdo it to avoid experiencing the opposite effect.
5. Lubricate the skin with olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most versatile ingredients and food products in the world. It is an absolute must in every delicious salad. It’s great with fish and chicken. And…it heals a myriad of illnesses and conditions. It lubricates joints and eases arthritis pain. Its oleocanthal content, which inhibits inflammatory enzymes COX-1 and COX-2, will make the ant bite a thing of the past.
Research shows that 1 tablespoon of olive oil is equal to 200 mg of ibuprofen. You have to use cold-pressed olive oil because heat destroys oleocanthal.
- One teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
- Massage a bit of the olive oil on the irritated area of the skin a few times a day.
Note: You can also consume 2-3 tablespoons daily to make your body stronger and more resistant to insect bites and stings. This is especially important if you are allergic to ant bites or some other insect bites. Do take my advice, but make sure you cut down on other fats because there are very many calories in olive oil, as you can read here.
As soon as you start feeling the symptoms of an ant bite or they show, use ammonia to clean the area. You don’t need to get anything special – most window cleaners contain ammonia. Just spray a bit of Windex or whatever you have on the irritated spot to minimize the effects of the ant bite. Ammonia is a very powerful chemical that will destroy the ant venom.
Again, take care not to spray too much. Ammonia is, after all, a strong substance that may have adverse effects on the skin. Don’t let it kill your skin cells along with the ant venom!
7. Honey – the food of the gods and the enemy of ants
One of the oldest natural remedies in the world is honey. Honey is not only extremely beneficial, but also delicious – no wonder it has been likened to ambrosia so often! Its ethereal oils and alcohol in honey help reduce skin irritation.
- One teaspoon of honey
- A glass of hot water
- Mix one teaspoon of honey into a glass of hot water (but not too hot to bear) and rub it slowly into the irritated area of the skin several times a day.
- Every time you perform this process, wait for the mix to dry on your skin to take effect.
8. Soap Bar or Diluted Bleach (Diluted – i.e. mixed with water!)
When you get an ant bite, run home (or somewhere indoors) and grab a soap bar. It doesn’t have to be antibacterial – in fact, evidence suggests antibacterial soap isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – but that’s another issue altogether.
- A bar of soap, any soap
- Gently press and rub the soap into the affected skin spot/s. This ensures a protective coating over the irritated skin area impeding the effects of the harmful bacteria as well as destroying those on the surface of the skin that would otherwise move into the deeper skin layers through cuts and wounds.
- Rubbing the affected area with soap is also a reasonable way to prevent pain, swelling and itching.
- Repeat as needed, but at least four times a day.
In the event this does not work, you have no choice but bleach. It truly is your last resort. Please observe the title of this subsection – diluted bleach.
This is one of the best home remedies for ant bites. But why does bleach work so well?
It works because it breaks down the protein in the ant’s venom, which is a mixture of protein and alkaloid. Dab a little bit of bleach on the ant bite, having mixed it 50:50 with water before that.
9. Eucalyptus oil – the power of eucalyptol
Research on eucalyptus oil shows that it has a variety of anti-microbial and immune-modifying properties. It contains a chemical called eucalyptol, which is the reason it is so effective against skin irritation caused by insect bites.
- A few drops of eucalyptus oil
- Hot water
- Pour the essential oil into a cup of hot water and rub on the irritated spot. Repeat as needed until the itch subsides.
Note: Eucalyptus oil has many other beneficial medicinal and biological properties. Click here to learn more about its amazing effect on people’s health!
10. Clay – Absorbs the venom and leaves your skin clean and healthy
Clay is an amazing absorber, extracting all kinds of toxins from the human body. It is no wonder that it has been used as a remedy since ancient times.
The properties are owed to the fact that toxins are electro positive and clay is negative. The trace minerals in clay enter the bloodstream through the skin.
- Some clay
- A bit of water
- Mix the clay and water to create a paste and cover your bite and the surrounding area with it. This paste ensures almost immediate relief from itchiness and pain.
Note: Make sure you get natural clay – it has a host of beneficial properties and soothes all kinds of pains and aches. It is found in most gardens. To some extent, where there are ants there is clay, so you are in luck.
How to Prevent Ant Bites
As we said earlier, the best treatment of ant bites is prevention, especially if you are allergic. So, how to avoid being bitten?
Do not squish ants and avoid disrupting lines of ants with your hand, finger or foot. If you see an ant somewhere on your body, shake it off or brush it off.
Keep in mind that there are more ants in areas with little ground cover, compact soil or bare earth. You can bet there are plenty of ants around if there aren’t many big trees in the area where you are.
Did you enjoy our list of home remedies? Ant bites can potentially be life-threatening - now you know how to cure yourself without fretting, panicking, and taking expensive anti-allergy medication!
Please tell us what you think in the comments and share this article so you can help other people out there who have suffered from ant bites and continue to do so because they keep getting bitten, unwise to the ways of prevention and treatment.