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.