Flea Bites on Humans: Symptoms and Treatment
Fleas are wingless, blood sucking parasites that are notorious for the irritation they cause us and our pets. Even though the fleas that are typically encountered in the urban environment are more interested in our furry friends than in people, flea bites on humans are not uncommon. It's a fairly accepted fact that if you're a pet owner, you're probably going to experience flea bites at some point.
Of course, people who don't own pets are not completely safe from the attentions of this small parasite. Fleas are surprisingly hardy creatures, especially in their pupae stage where they can survive in harsh environments for long durations with no food. It's a common horror story amongst people who move into new homes to be suddenly attacked by a horde of fleas. This is because the returned presence of warm-blooded people stimulate fleas to hatch from their protective cocoons for their first blood meal. All this can occur without a dog in sight! Perhaps it's not such a bad idea to flea bomb your new home before you move in, just in case the previous owners had a flea infestation.
So how can you tell whether you're the main course for this notorious little blood-sucker? Pay attention to the symptoms.
Symptoms of Flea Bites on Humans
- Flea bites are extremely itchy.
- They form small, red bumps.
- The bites are typically focused around the feet and lower legs, as fleas tend to live in the carpets and floorboards. Of course, it isn't uncommon to experience flea bites on other areas of the body, particularly around your mid-section.
- If you have a hypersensitive reaction to the flea bites, large welts may form that are painful and hot to the touch.
- Flea bites are easily infected as scratching can introduce nasty bacteria into the open sores. Infected flea bites become painful, red, pussy and swollen.
How To Treat Flea Bites
- The first tip is the most important, though it is also one of the most difficult to follow. DON'T SCRATCH. Fleas defecate as they feed, which means that every flea bite is going to be surrounded by nasty bacteria. Not only does scratching irritate the skin surface futher, but you also risk introducing some of this bacteria into your skin, leading to infection.
- An oral antihistamine will help reduce the itchiness of the flea bites while also lessening any allergic reactions you may have experienced from the bites.
- Topical antihistamines, antibacterials and other soothing lotions will help to soothe and cleanse the skin directly, giving relief to where it is needed most. These products are readily available at your local chemist.
- Tepid baths with an oatmeal solution (found at chemists and health stores) will help to soothe your skin. Avoid hot showers as the hot water can actually make the itching worse.
- Ensure your house and your yard are completely treated for fleas. There are many good flea bombs on the market that are extremely effective in killing fleas in every stage of their life cycle. If you don't kill the fleas, you will continue to get flea bites!
- Make sure you actually have flea bites. Flea bites can sometimes look similar to mosquito bites, heat rash or a number of other skin ailments. If you haven't actually seen any fleas jumping around your home yet you still have what look like flea bites, a trip to the doctor or pharmacist may be in order!
Have you ever been victim to a flea infestation? What did you do to treat the flea bites? How did you get rid of fleas from your house? Please feel free to leave comments below!