Kids MD - Fire Ant Attack (ER Story) - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/18/04

Kids MD - Fire Ant Attack (ER Story)

Fire Ant Attack (ER Story)

Karen Savage | CWK Network

“When children get this kind of allergic reaction, they are at risk for having a bad reaction when they get bites in the future.”
- Dr. Kathleen Nelson, Professor of Pediatrics -

Summer is a time to run barefoot through the grass, but hiding in the grass could be fire ants. We all know the bites can hurt, but for some kids, they can be life threatening.

Two-and-a-half-year-old Miranda was on her way to the pool when she walked through a fire ant hill.

“Almost immediately she started having a reaction?” asks Dr. Kathleen Nelson, professor of pediatrics. Miranda’s dad says, “within ten minutes.”

The bites were on her feet, but she had spots everywhere. The spots are less of a concern than the little girl’s breathing.

“Was she having any difficulty breathing?” asks Nelson.

Miranda’s dad replies, “She never had any difficulty breathing. Her lips swelled up.”

“Can I see?” asks the doctor. “Open up.” But Miranda isn’t cooperating. She’s more concerned with keeping her pacifier right where it is. Her parents can laugh about her antics now, but they were right to be concerned enough to rush her to the emergency room.

“Whenever you have such a rapid development of whelps or urticaria in response to a bite, it means you are at high risk for anaphylaxis, so they were very right in coming right to the doctor,” says Dr. Nelson.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic response that causes swelling, making it difficult or impossible to breathe.

But Miranda was lucky that her parents knew what to do.

“They went right to the drug store, bought some Benadryl, gave her some Benadryl and brought her to the hospital,” says Dr. Nelson.

So now they wait for the spots to fade and make sure they’re ready for the next time.

“When children get this kind of allergic reaction, they are at risk for having a bad reaction when they get bites in the future,” explains Dr. Nelson. And she recommends some advance preparation for the family. “What we recommended for Miranda is that her parents travel with Benadryl and also have what’s called an Epi-pen.”

“The fancy name is epinephrine, which especially if it’s going to be a ways before you get to the hospital and you notice she’s having difficulty breathing, you can give it to her and you get almost instantaneous relief,” says Nelson.

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