Levitra low priceom: 10px;” title=”West Palm Beach skyline from Southern Blvd. 09-22-2010″ src=”http://www.palmbeachbiketours.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/West-Palm-Beach-skyline-from-Southern-Blvd.-09-22-2010_7500-500×106.jpg” alt=”” width=”500″ height=”106″ />I posted some photos of a Palm Beach Full Moon ride the other day. In it I mentioned getting attacked by fire ants while shooting this photo of the West Palm Beach skyline from the Southern Blvd. causeway between Palm Beach and West Palm Beach.
Here’s a link to a sunset photo of West Palm Beach, the full moon and The Breakers Hotel taken during happier moments of the ride.
Stabbed with red-hot ice pick
Here’s the photo I shot just as I thought someone had jabbed my ankle with a red-hot ice pick. If you’ve lived in Florida, and, I suspect, most Southern states, you know that feeling. You’ve have managed to tick off a mound of fire ants.
I quickly did the Fire Ant Shuffle, grabbed a light and started brushing them off my legs around my ankle area. You do NOT want to spray them with water. That just makes them grab on all the harder.
(The Fire Ant Shuffle is not to be confused with Mathilde’s Frog Dance performed under a Lake O Full Moon.)
Fire ants attack without provocation
Suite101 has some great info about fire ants: Fire ants bite without provocation; simply walking within 15 feet of a fire ant’s anthill is enough to spur an attack from these aggressive ants. The fire ant sting is painful and understandably so, as the ant uses its mandibles to literally bite away a tiny chunk of skin while simultaneously injecting a venom. According to eMedicine.com, if left in place, the fire ant will pivot and begin to inflict bites in a circular pattern.
First aid for fire ant bites
I didn’t realize that I had been nailed so many times. I always carry some Sting-Kill insect bite swabs on the bike. They’re designed for bee stings, but I’ve found them effective for jellyfish and fire ants, too. They are a plastic-covered glass ampule with a swab on one end. You crush the ampule, which causes a mixture of Benzocaine, Menthol and Isopropanol to flow onto the swab.
Swabs last forever, are easy to use
I like them because they are one-use-only, last forever and work to relieve the symptoms of a bite.
I didn’t bother to pull a swab out this night, because I thought I had only been nailed once.
Where can I get Sting-Kill Swabs
Some folks have said they are available at Walmart, but I haven’t been able to find them locally. Sting-Kill Swabs
are available from several vendors through Amazon.
What do fire ant bites look like?
I’m going to run this photo small. Click to enlarge at your own risk
The evening after I was bitten, my ankle area began to itch and burn. When I took a closer look, I saw about a dozen bites, indicated by red marks and white pustules. Just rubbing against the sheet was enough to trigger the burning and itching sensation.
My first attempt to reduce the symptoms was to wash the area carefully, then apply Benadryl Gel
to the bites. That didn’t help much.
Cortisone cream provided relief
Then I remember that my dermatologist had prescribed a cortisone cream for a rash some time back. He said that it would be good for insect bites, as well. He was correct. The cream brought the itching and burning down to bearable levels.
I told Wife Lila that the bites almost look like perforations ar0und my sock line. I hope my foot doesn’t break off along the dotted line.
Don’t squeeze the pustules
One thing I WON’T do is squeeze or break the white pustules. I’m told that will only push the infection deeper into the skin and increase the chances of scarring. If things don’t look better by mid-week, I’ll head off to the doctor. Generally, though, these things usually start to clear up in about a week.