Q. I was looking for information about fire ant stings and arthritis because this just happened to me. I live in Florida and two days ago I got about 30 fire ant stings on my foot.

I used baking soda and vinegar on the foot, so the pain and itching wasn’t too bad. My toes became swollen and tight to the point that I couldn’t bend them, but the swelling went away overnight.

In the past, including very recently, I have had incredible pain from arthritis in this foot. Today, my foot feels great, with no pain at all. I just can’t believe the range of motion I have. All of the joints in the foot are so loose and flexible.

I’m 50 and my foot feels like it did when I was in my 20s. As crazy as this may sound, I’m getting ready to go out and put my hands on one of the several fire ant nests in my yard. If the joints in my hands feel as good as my foot does, I will be a very happy man!

A. We would discourage you from sticking your hand in a fire ant nest on the grounds that bites can become infected. Multiple stings sometimes trigger seizures, heart failure or life-threatening allergic reactions.

That said, there is an unusual approach to treating arthritis and some auto-immune conditions called apitherapy or bee venom therapy. Controlled bee stings may provide significant pain relief for stiff, sore joints or even pain that lingers after shingles.

We interviewed several experts on apitherapy and acupuncture for our radio show. You can listen to the one-hour episode at PeoplesPharmacy.com.

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  1. AML
    Reply

    I think it’s sort of like the man who had a headache and whacked his finger with a hammer and then his headache was much better.

  2. GB
    Reply

    I’m interested in this, keep us posted.

  3. floridananny
    Reply

    Please notify me of follow-up comments. Thank you.

  4. ladyliza
    Reply

    Here is a list of herbs that have helped me immensely with my hip arthritis. I am not longer crippled with pain. I have No pain at all.
    I started with niacinamide at my doctors suggestion. Then I started with 2200 mg of turmeric divided doses daily and increased it up to around 4000mg/day. But since I don’t like the taste, even in the pills, I searched for something different.
    Then I tried SAM-e, and that killed most of the pain. I started with 200mg am and 200 evenings. If you find it too expensive, just buy it at vitacost.com. IT is very reasonable there.
    I started serrapeptase, at 5am every morning for a different ailment, but this eliminates most of the inflammation in your body. The only downside is having to wake up at 5am to take it, since your stomach and upper intestines have to be empty. My depression is now gone as I am no longer in any pain. I am 65.

  5. art
    Reply

    The swelling was probably aided by the use of vinegar on the foot. Raw, Unfiltered ACV (Apply Cider Vinegar) is a wonderful anti-infective/anti-inflammatory agent!

  6. az
    Reply

    I have heard that bee stings help. I have not tried it. However, if I get ant or spider bite I put Honey on a bandaid and leave it on. It helps with pain and inflammation!! I have also found as for me when I got acne I did the same thing.. leaving it on overnight. It reduces the inflammation and redness.

  7. dvd
    Reply

    After posting my prior data, I had an additional thought. My autoimmune disease has been in remission this whole year also. I am 69 years old, and I do not now take any prescription drugs. I am in remission for the first time in twenty-two years. It is interesting to note that no more MRSA lesions happened at the same time as the illness went into remission. Evidently the immune suppressing drug (imuran) reduced by body’s ability to fight offs MRSA. It is great to be drug free after all those years of prednisone and/or imuran.

  8. dvd
    Reply

    I had a single fire ant sting on my lower back in December, 2008, and the result was a huge abscess that required three emergency room visits and antibiotics to heal. Due to a genetic problem I developed an autoimmune disease and was on immune suppressants at that time. The first abscess was MRSA, and I had MRSA infections sixteen times in the following years that required treatment. This year I am MRSA free. My advise is stay away from fire ants, and if you do get a bite, treat it vigorously with antibiotic creams, and see a physician if you get an abscess. MRSA is a scary problem………..

  9. don
    Reply

    Interested in the results of the baking soda and vinegar for arthritis

  10. DS
    Reply

    I would like to hear what happens with JeanLynn.

  11. Dallee
    Reply

    Especially for arthritic hands, first try epsom salt in very warm water with some mild stretching for at least 15 minutes — feet, too, but the stretching is a bit harder.
    Keep doing it every day or every other day.
    Often, that does help and it is pretty risk free.

  12. Jim
    Reply

    I find it disturbing that people want to combine vinegar and baking soda as a treatment for anything. This combination is what I use to clear the drains in my home since it is highly caustic. I’ve seen posts on here in the past about combining them to treat heartburn and indigestion, and now to treat topical issues. Am I missing something? Love this newsletter and learn a great deal from it. Thanks.

  13. mary
    Reply

    Please forward me results of JeanLynn’s experiment. Thank you

  14. JeanLynn
    Reply

    I am wondering if it could have been the baking soda and vinegar that made your arthritis better, not the ant stings? I am going to put baking soda and vinegar on my right hand tonite and see what happens. I have mild to moderate arthritis pain and swelling in my right hand. Report to follow soon.

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