Woman dies reportedly from ant bite reaction

Published 10:13 pm Friday, May 27, 2016

A Prattville woman recently died in Selma from reportedly an allergic reaction to ant bites, just one day after her mother passed away.

Originally from Selma, Kalyn Rolan, 29, died shortly after being bitten by ants at a relative’s home in Selma on Friday, May 20, while in town to make arrangements for her mother’s funeral.

Rolan’s mother, Roberta Lynn Dukes, had passed away the day before from ongoing health issues.

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Sheila Rolan, Kayln’s mother-in-law, said Kayln had several known allergies to ants, bees, peanuts and more causes. Despite these known allergies, Sheila said Kayln was rarely seen with an EpiPen.

“I’ve never seen her with a pen, and I couldn’t understand that,” Sheila said. “She [tried] to be pretty cautious with getting around things she [knew] she’s allergic to.”

That Friday, Kayln was kicking and prodding a haystack while talking on the phone when ants attacked her, according to her husband Brandon.

“My son tried to save her. She died in his arms,” Sheila said. “They took her clothes off to try to get the ants off of her and everything. He couldn’t save her.”

Sheila believes the residence is about 30 miles from the closest hospital.

Kayln was transported to the local hospital by ambulance where she was pronounced dead, according to Sheila.

Brandon said the family attempted to give her Benadryl and took her to a nearby neighbor who worked as a first responder as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

Dallas County coroner William Alan Dailey confirmed Kayln did not have an EpiPen.

Although the family believes the death was caused by the ant bites, Dailey said the autopsy results are not conclusive and are still pending as of Friday.

Kayln’s body was sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science for an autopsy.

“There are a lot of various things that have to be put together for the medical examiner to say one way or the other,” Dailey said.

Dailey said the majority of the ant bites were located around Kayln’s ankles.

Dailey advises people to be aware of the potential dangers of any type of allergy, whether it is food, insects or others.

“Allergies can be anywhere from just a small amount of itchiness and redness to swelling to death. What generally happens first is your airway constricts and once your airway closes off, death can occur pretty much instantaneous,” Dailey said.

“If you have highly allergic reactions to it, you need to make sure you carry an EpiPen. The minutes count. It’s important to get treatment immediately.”

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is also alerting people to be weary of fire ants because more than one ant sting can potentially result in serious medical problems, even with normal immune systems.

On Thursday, May 26, the family held a dual funeral service for the mother and daughter at Lawrence Brown Funeral Home.

Kayln left behind a husband of 10 years, Brandon, and two children, 7-year-old Jacob and 2-year-old Kaysen.

“[She] loved her kids and loved her husband,” Sheila said. “She was really pleasant to be around and would help you in anyway that she could.”

The family has set up a GoFundMe fundraiser, www.gofundme.com/25h4kkyk, to help with funeral expenses.