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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Fire Ants

Last night, as my husband and I came home from eating out, I saw my sister, Elaine, and her dogs in her backyard so I walked over to visit. I reached down and picked up Toughy and was snuggling him up to my neck. Suddenly my neck was on fire and I was being stung. I put him down and started brushing at my neck but it was getting worse. I told Elaine that I was going to have to go home. I ran inside and jerked all my clothes off and found fire ants in them. I was stung probably a dozen times around my neck and down my chest.

Two weeks ago I was stung 3 times on my feet and they swelled and the bites blistered. That was a hefty reaction.

But this time it was a much worse allergic reaction.

Stan threw my clothes into the washer while I jumped in the shower to make sure I got them all off of me. By the time I got out they were welping, itching and burning like crazy and I was getting very agitated. I took 2 Benadryl and lathered Benadryl cream all over. I went and sat down with Stan in the den. He had the light off and was watching TV. It just kept getting worse and worse. I could feel the swelling and it itched and burned. After 30 mins watching TV and hearing me complain, he took me in the bathroom and I showed him. By then my face was blood red and I had a rash over 50% of my body. Angry, red and inflamed. I was also starting to get chest pains. It wasn't my heart or lungs because it wasn't a constant pain (with every beat of my heart) and I was breathing OK, no vomitting. The pain was on the right side and would come for 10 seconds or so and then subside for a minute or two. I could feel some pressure like a lump at the bottom of my throat. I told him to take me to the emergency room. The pain began to come more often and last longer so that within the 15 mins it took for us to get dressed and drive to the emergency room I was having that chest pain every 45 secs and it would last about 15 secs.

Fortunately it was a slow time at the ER and they took me straight back and put me on an EKG (which showed my heart was normal). My blood pressure was high for me. I'm usually around 72 for the bottom number and it was 84. But not abnormally high and once they got me in the back and I got settled down it went right back down. They gave me a shot of Benadryl (on top of the 2 pills I had already had), some Prednisone and Pepcid (she said it had some kind of histamine blockers too). They kept me for observation for about 2 hours and sent me home with a prescription for all. After the shot and pills, within the hour the rash was gone (down to just a couple of streaks), the pain in my chest was gone and the crazy itching and burning was gone. I was able to come home (12:00am) and go to sleep. I woke up at 5:30am this morning with the itching again and took 2 more Benadryl. The bites are starting to blister.

The doctor said I have to stay away from fire ants because each time you get a bite, you can react a little worse the next time. She said since I had such a severe reaction this time, it was important to try and avoid them. She also said to be sure and take the meds as prescribed and through the whole period so that I won't re-react. I can't wait for the pharmacy to open so I can get these meds.

Can our dogs be bitten and react? Melinda says she has a dog that was adopted out that got into a fire ant nest and had to be rushed to the Vet and have similar treatment. So, yes, our dogs can be affected. But, pay attention to ants on the dogs that are then brought in the house or on you as you hold the dogs.

9/1//2008
Update

I have been bitten by fire ants 4 times this season already. Despite the immediate shots I have been having re-reactions and have suffered recurring rashes and allergic itching for a couple of months now. We've tried more shots and prednisone and that worked until I was out of the prednisone and then it started coming back again. About once a day, I will get an allergic outbreak somewhere on my body and it will itch and raise a red rash. I just keep taking Benadryl which makes it settle down until the next day. So it's still not done with me yet.

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