The last thing a Philadelphia resident might expect would be to get stung by fire ants. But two recent cases in Northeast Philly are evidence that the insects are roaming around the city.
Young children in Holmesburg and Mayfair had to be treated by a doctor after what their parents first believed to be a diaper rash or regular bug bite quickly spread and got worse.
The telltale sign of a fire ant sting is the tiny white pustules that form on top of clustered red bumps," Barbara Gold, a pediatrician at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, told the Philadelphia Inquirer
. Gold diagnosed and treated both children, and has been stung twice.
It's unlikely the fire ants will take over Philly in a plague-like scenario; the cold winters aren't conducive to their lifestyle. Only a small percentage of the human population has an allergic reaction to the ants' venom, and stings can be treated with antihistamines and over-the-counter creams.