Friday, January 04, 2008

Communist Fire-Ants

In my so-evil-it's-grand African American history course in grad school, we read a book by Pete Daniel called Lost Revolutions: The South in the 1950s. Good book. I enjoyed the stuff on Elvis, on stock car racing, and most of the rest. But the class as a whole -- me included -- had big issues with his take on fire ants. He drew connections between foreign threat, anti-communist rhetoric, and the influx of Argentine fire ants to the US South. So were the fire ants (who are red, of course) communists? Just symbols of communism?

Our class debated this part and basically determined that Daniel was far too sympathetic to the evil little critters. Fire ants aren't Communists... they're Satanists! They literally try to kill you with their bites. And while the chemical assault was dangerous to the environment and expensive, it STILL didn't manage to get rid of the fire ants. Why? 'Cause they're fru-its of the de-vil.

So reason #482 that we're glad we moved back to the Northwest: no fire ants. On our recent trip down South, DQ got 3 ant bites on her toes. That was a week ago. Last night, she was up twice (1:30 and 5:30am) crying about how much her toes itched and hurt.

I think I might have to pull an Eddie Izzard and seal her feet in a block of concrete should we ever go back there. For starters!

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Anonymous dermboy said...

You can also can in for a free consult at anytime.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Quinn said...

seriously, what do you do for fire ant bites?

8:41 AM  
Anonymous dermboy said...

Try OTC hydrocortisone and calamine. If that doesn't work then, prescription strength hydrocortisone ointments.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you can get to the stings within about 10 mins max of the event use a solution of half-strength household bleach on the sting sites. Bleach denatures the proteins in the ant sting venom and reduces their effect dramatically. But you do have to be quick, and make sure the bleach isn't undiluted or too strong please. Benadryl or Calamine afterwards if necessary and protect the sting pustules from being scratched to avoid infections from dirty fingernails etc.

Most importantly keep an eye on the victim for some hours and if they show signs of a surprise rash, excessive sweating, difficulty in breathing or swallowing for example treat the patient as though they were in danger of an anaphylactic (allergy-triggered) shock reaction. These are increasingly common in fire ant infested areas and - like wasp and nut allergic reactions for example - can rapidly become life-threatening.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous spouse said...

um, even us lowly internists managed to get that right. started with topical benadryl... minimal effect. then moved up to otc hypdrocortisone and calamine... better. then 2 doses of rx strength, and she's sleeping soundly again. FINALLY...

9:56 AM  
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12:30 AM  

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