How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask 911DOC Your Own Question

911DOC
911DOC, Board Certified Dr.
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 5094
Experience:  Emergency Medicine Physician
19155615
Type Your Medical Question Here...
911DOC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

On Tuesday afternoon I was bitten by strange ants. By Wednesday

Customer Question

On Tuesday afternoon I was bitten by strange ants. By Wednesday morning I had developed a very very itchy welty rash of hives which has progressed across both arms chest back and face since then. I saw a Doctor on Thursday as the itchiness was unbearable and telfast I had taken was not working effectively, she had not seen a reaction like mine before and she gave me two doses of steroids which I have taken and it has helped alleviate the welts and slowed the spread but has not stopped it totally. It is now Saturday and I still have the rash though not as bad. If I have a shower the itchiness increases where the rash is. I have found that if I have cold showers it helps and Phenergan seems to calm the itch the best. Also it seems to flare up if I get warm. I have taken the ants in to our Local weeds and seeds department as they have people who can identify them but I won't get an answer until possibly Monday. I haven't had any breathing problems but I did get a slight nose bleed yesterday and also have a bit of diareah. I am concerned this is a bad allergic reaction and would like advice on what to do next please?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  911DOC replied 1 year ago.

911DOC :

So clearly this is an allergic reaction

911DOC :

But is not an anaphylactic reaction, the dangerous, deadly form of sever allergy

911DOC :

You have been properly treated

911DOC :

And the phenergan helping makes sense as it is a good antihistamine and antihistmines are the standard treatment for mild to moderate allergic reactions

911DOC :

The one thing that has not been given that is probably not needed at this point is an epinephrine shot....

911DOC :

but that is reserved for anaphylaxis

911DOC :

I am surprised, however, that you were given a burst of steroids and not a tapering dose

911DOC :

other than that I think this is good treatment and that you will get this resolved soon....

911DOC :

standing by

Customer:

The Weeds and seeds department think the ants may be fire ants but they have not confirmed this as their expert is not here until Monday. I am worried that I may have a worse reaction to these ants as I had not encountered them before The Tuesday

911DOC :

it doesn't matter what the ants are... what matters is that whatever bit you caused a rather impressive allergic reaction, but not the most dangerous reaction called 'anaphylaxis', which is deadly if not caught early

911DOC :

the reason I say it doesn't matter

911DOC :

is that

911DOC :

there are only a few insects whose bite specifically requires an antivenom

911DOC :

and there are not any ants that do this

911DOC :

standing by

Customer:

So basically just keep taking phenergan and keep having the cool showers until the rash goes away

911DOC :

yes, I'm not sure if you can get benadyl (diphenhydramine) over the counter... it's a bit better as an antihistamine, so you might adjust there

911DOC :

but if you do not notice great improvement and resolution within the next few days I do think I would speak with your physicain

911DOC :

about possibly doing a steroid taper

Customer:

Should I get tested for an allergy with these ants in case of further contact?

911DOC :

as the steroid burst, in the setting of an allergic reaction, often allows for a recurrence of the initial reaction, whilst the taper tends to prevent this

911DOC :

good question....

911DOC :

I think it's safe to say you are allergic

911DOC :

the question is are you allergic to the point that you should carry an epipen witih you at all times, and to do this might require the aid of an allergist

911DOC :

so yes, it might be worthwhile

911DOC :

standing by

Customer:

I have read that if I get bit again I have a 60 percent chance of having a similar reaction or worse as I reacted badly to my first bite from these ants. So as they have suddenly appeared in my garden I am concerned there will be another encounter

911DOC :

I share your concern

911DOC :

your concern is valid

911DOC :

two things

911DOC :

fist, your friends who are going to identify the ants can probably tell you how to get rid of them

911DOC :

and secondly

911DOC :

you should definitely talk with your phsyician about getting an epipen just in case whilst they sort out if you have an anaphylactic allergy to these ants.

911DOC :

standing by

Customer:

Should I also take in any information the department of weeds and seeds give me to show the doctor so she can be ready if anyone else has a similar experience?

911DOC :

that would be nice, I'm not sure how helpful it would be... at least up here fire ants are all over the place and they are appropriately named... it's not a medical mystery, but still, it might be nice to warn your friends and let your doctor know what they discover.

Customer:

They aren't native to Australia but they are appearing everywhere here

911DOC :

then it will be very important indeed if they end up being fire ants to spread the word.

Customer:

Thanks for the advice I will make an appointment to see the doctor early next week and see what she can do for me

911DOC :

very good

911DOC :

do you have any final questions about this for me?

Customer:

if the rash gets worse should I go to the hospital

911DOC :

the rash will likely wax and wane and it is not of primary concern... read the link I gave you and that will give good detail... but basically.... increasing shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, nausea, wheezing, tightness in the throat... if those symptoms come on then consider calling the ambulance.... but since you have had steroids this is very unlikely to occur... don't just take the phenergan or benadryl when you have symptoms... take it four times a day... and then when you see your doctor, follow his or her advice past that.

911DOC :

make sense?

Customer:

yep sure does thanks a heap!

911DOC :

no worries

911DOC :

have a wonderful morning (?) down under... love Oz dearly... thanks for your question and if this has been helpful positive feedback is always appreciated.

911DOC :

good night from Tennessee.

911DOC :

;)

Customer:

lol its early afternoon but Thanks heaps for the info!

911DOC :

you are most welcome

911DOC, Board Certified Dr.
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 5094
Experience: Emergency Medicine Physician
911DOC and 8 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  911DOC replied 1 year ago.
Did you get a positive identification on those ants? Do you have any further questions for me? I hope you are fully recovered.

Best
911doc
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The ant that bit me was called Paratrechina longicornis or the longhorn black crazy ant. It isn't deemed a pest species here and poses no threat to the general public.


They don't have a stinger but likes to bite and swing its abdomen around and squirt a formic acid solution into the would its making as it chews. Normally placid I inadvertently disturbed its new nest and they defended it well.



After I emailed you the rash spread to inside my nose and inside my ears and by the afternoon I had a nose bleed. Saturday night I woke up with breathing problems and my heart racing but thought it was from the steroids and stayed calm and did manage to go back to sleep. Sunday morning I woke with the taste like I had been sucking on coins or metal. I took my dose of Phenergan and slept for most of the day. By that afternoon I had issues swallowing but as it did not get worse and I could still breathe I again stayed calm and kept taking phenergan and Monday I went and made an appointment. Tuesday the rash was now just on my arms and talking to the doctor he informed me the symptoms with my breathing weren't from the steroids and I should have gone to the hospital though he did praise me for staying calm and not panicking.


 


I in the past, I have shown an allergic reaction to an ant they call the Bulldog ant or Inch ant. Its a native species and considered a venomous ant and as I found out, from the same family. They took this into consideration when I went back in to see them.


 


The Doctor I saw at that appointment and the Doctor who treated me the Thursday, both recommended that I need to have an epi pen and also advised me to get a medialert bracelet or something similar for in case of anaphylaxis.


 


I have been given an epi pen and steroids and have been told to avoid any ant as most in Australia are of the same family Formicidae. They think it is to do with the formic acid the ants produce.


 


I just have to call the exterminator to spray my yard and house as well as wear closed in shoes and use insect repellent and be a little bit more vigilant when I go outside.


 


I still have a couple of rash patches but they are now not as maddeningly itchy and getting smaller by the day.


 


Thank-you for your advice as it did help to keep me calm and hopeful.

Expert:  911DOC replied 1 year ago.
Wow, what an ordeal! I'm glad you now have an epipen as it could save your life, as it does sound like you have true anaphylaxis, or, at least, close to it.

Please keep that epipen close by at all times as you appear to have an ant allergy, but remember, ants, bees, wasps, horneets.... they are all very similar creatures and many people with reactivity to one will have cross reactivity to others.

Glad to hear back from you.

Best

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me from a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me. Susan O. USA
< Last | Next >
  • I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me from a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me. Susan O. USA
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Thomas, MD

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    46349
    Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, also Integrative, CAM, etc
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrThomasMd/2012-7-25_134438_Imagess1.64x64.jpg Dr. Thomas, MD's Avatar

    Dr. Thomas, MD

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    46349
    Internal Medicine--practice all of internal medicine, all ages, family, also Integrative, CAM, etc
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MY/mysticdoc/2012-6-8_15615_mysticdoc3.64x64.jpg Dr. D.J.'s Avatar

    Dr. D.J.

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    14679
    MD
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/agketch/2008-7-14_184046_drketchresized.jpg Dr. Ketch's Avatar

    Dr. Ketch

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    76
    Medical Degree, Former Assistant Professor at School of Medicine at Yale University
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FA/FamilyPhysician/2013-8-31_191624_JA550x500Photo.64x64.jpg Family Physician's Avatar

    Family Physician

    Doctor

    Satisfied Customers:

    2562
    Emergency Medicine and Family Practice for over 26 years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/drappapo/2013-8-16_22576_drdavid.64x64.jpg Dr. David's Avatar

    Dr. David

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    224
    Treat children/young adults, former chief resident, multiple publications
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DrDLove/2009-08-12_141522_DrDLove.jpg Dr. D. Love's Avatar

    Dr. D. Love

    Doctor

    Satisfied Customers:

    11961
    Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/CO/commissure/2011-4-15_192514_REISD20080926JR1090.64x64.jpg Dr. David's Avatar

    Dr. David

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    10667
    Experienced Physician trained in New York City. I'm ready to help.
 
 
 

Related Medical Questions

Chat Now With A Doctor
911DOC
911DOC
Doctor
5094 Satisfied Customers
Emergency Medicine Physician