Fleas are harmful insects that are small in size and survive on blood. Usually, fleas infest the pets of your house first and then attack small children. There are five different types of fleas. Among them, dog fleas, cat fleas, and human fleas; bite humans. These parasitic insects have sharp jaws which is pierced into the human or animal skin; and the blood is sucked out. Their saliva contains an anticoagulant which they inject into the blood to prevent its clotting and then they suck it out to quench their thirst. This anticoagulant is harmful and causes several infections.
Characteristics of Flea Bites on Children
Fleas do not bite children just once but many times, as they move around restlessly all over the skin. This results in numerous small, red bumps on the skin surface. When you look at them closely, you will find a red halo around each bump and a tiny hole at its center. It is through this hole that the fleas suck out blood from human body. Usually, these bumps are mostly found in clusters on the lower part of the legs and around the waist where clothing is tight. Constant itchiness is felt on these bumps for many days. At times, the itching sensation becomes so severe that children end up breaking the skin and bleeding occurs from them. If this wound is attacked by any bacteria, it can lead to serious skin infections. Apart from the itching, irritation, and skin infection; fleas can also be responsible for transmission of serious diseases as they move from one host to another. Diseases, like, murine typhus and bubonic plague get transmitted by fleas. There are certain fleas that can even transmit larvae of tapeworms.
Treatment for Flea Bites
The main aim of the treatment is to provide relief from the annoying symptoms. As soon as you discover signs of flea bites on your child's skin, start some home treatments immediately. Firstly, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and cold water. Do not use hot water as it may aggravate the itching sensation. Then apply cold compressions by wrapping up a few ice cubes in a small piece of cloth. This will bring down the swelling to some extent. Ask your child to not to scratch the welts as it increases the risk of infections. To obtain relief from irritation and swelling, topical hydrocortisone creams that are available over the counter can be applied on the itchy bumps. In case these treatments do not give the desired results, you should consult a doctor without any delay. Doctors prescribe oral antihistamines and calamine lotion for controlling the itching sensation. In case there is a severe skin infection, it has to be treated with antibiotics. In case the child develops any serious illness a few days after flea bites, do not forget to inform the doctor about it.
Small children are mostly bitten by the fleas existing in your house. Therefore, to protect your child from flea bites, it is essential that you free your house from flea infestation. Clean up the entire house thoroughly. Fleas lay eggs on carpets, upholstery, furniture, etc. Use vacuum cleaner to remove fleas and eggs from these household items. Always wash all the linen and other fabric material in warm water to kill the fleas. If there is a heavy infestation, then take the help of a professional for the purpose of flea control. The main carrier of fleas are the pets in your house. So, you must take your pet to the vet to give proper treatment.
The reaction of flea bites may not be immediate. When a child is bitten by fleas for the first time, symptoms tend to show up after some time. If the child has already developed sensitivity towards the saliva secretions of the fleas, then the symptoms are visible almost instantly.