North Carolina infested with fire ants - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

North Carolina infested with fire ants

"If you get fire ants on you, your initial reaction is to whack it, but once crushed they send off a pheromones signal to the rest of them to start biting," said Dr. Varney  (Source: WECT) "If you get fire ants on you, your initial reaction is to whack it, but once crushed they send off a pheromones signal to the rest of them to start biting," said Dr. Varney (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

Doctors in North Carolina are warning residents about a fire ant infestation that might not just end with a sting, but a trip to the doctor's office.

71 out of 100 counties in North Carolina are infested with fire ants.

Fire ants like to build their nest in warm moist areas; so having damp and humid summer's means anytime you step out the door, your odds of getting bit are extremely high.

"If you get fire ants on you, your initial reaction is to whack it," said Michael Varney, an Urgent Care doctor. "But once crushed they send off a pheromones signal to the rest of them to start biting which is why you almost never get just one fire any bite…you get a bunch of them."

Everyone reacts differently to the ant bites. Some swell, other's get a rash, while a few even die.

"Some people are highly allergic to it, and get what we call an anaphylactic reaction," Varney said. "Your lungs start closing down, you start wheezing, your cardiovascular system collapses."

However, most of the time Dr. Varney usually see's patients who haves skin rashes or hives.

"Benadryl helps, that's definitely one of the first things you go for, or a once a day antihistamines like Claritin," he explained. "But after you get the initial effects, antihistamines don't do anything."

Meaning you need to make a trip to the doctor's officer get a prescription. With more warm weather ahead, doctors are warning everyone to watch their step.

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.

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