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Flea Bites on Humans

Flea Bites on Humans

Flea bites are not only confined to cats and dogs, but these tiny-looking insects also feed on humans. Flea bites can give rise to a number of allergy problems; therefore, one should not neglect the symptoms and seek medical help immediately. Here are the symptoms of flea bites on humans and the treatment offered for the same.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Jun 12, 2018
Did You Know?
During the World War II, the Japanese empire dropped plague fleas and infected clothing encased in bombs on various enemy targets in China that killed tens of thousands of Chinese men.
Fleas are known for their insatiable appetite. They are wingless and blood-sucking parasites, whose bites give rise to irritation, and at times, allergic dermatitis. They pose a threat not only to humans, but also to pets. Human fleas are known as Pulex irritans.
Flea bites on humans is quite a common thing, and if you are a pet owner, you may have to deal with this situation at some point. That does not mean that if you don't have pets you are completely safe and can breathe calmly.
There are many other ways in which fleas can enter your house and infest you. While shifting to a new house, it is always better to flea bomb the house first, as fleas - when in the pupal stage - can survive in their cocoons for a long time without food. This will save you from the attack of fleas if the house has been previously infested with fleas.
Fleas can be transmitting agents of tapeworm larvae, bubonic plague, stomach flu, and murine typhus. The infestation is normally seen in the summer months, when a pet gets the infestation inside the house, or after visiting an area infested with fleas.
The infestation spreads to the carpet in the house and eventually to the clothing and human body (and pets, if any at home). At times, it has also been noticed that the fleas infest the house after a mild winter even if there are no pets at home.
Keep Note: There have been many rumors about fleas spreading HIV/AIDS. However, it has been proved that when a flea bites an HIV-infected person, the virus immediately dies in the insect's stomach when it digests the blood. So, you don't need to worry about that!
Flea Bite Symptoms
✦ The common symptom of flea bites seen on human beings is a small bump with a tiny puncture in the center caused by the flea bite, surrounded by a red halo.

✦ Flea bites are extremely itchy, but it's very necessary to avoid scratching in order to avoid spreading the bacteria all over and increasing the infestation.
✦ If you take a careful look at the bites, you will see that the bites did bleed, which led to the formation of a scab on the bites.

✦ Another common characteristic of flea bites is that there will be more than one bite in the same area. In some cases, painful welts may be formed on the area of the flea bites.
✦ If you are hypersensitive to the flea bites, you may experience large welts on your body, which will be painful and hot to touch.

✦ If the flea-bitten area is scratched, then the bites can become painful, pussy, and swollen. It will also introduce the infected bacteria into open sores of your body.
✦ Fleas normally live in the carpets and floorboards of your house because of which flea bites are usually found on the lower legs, feet, and folds of the skin.

✦ The fleas have small bristles, which enable them to move upwards to the waist area. They may also choose areas where the clothes are the tightest.
✦ Flea bites can induce different reactions from different people. The reaction primarily depends on the sensitivity of the person. There are some people, who are not affected by flea bites at all.

✦ Children are mostly prone to flea bites. Hence, keep a check and make regular visits to a veterinarian.
Treatment Measures
It is extremely important that you do not scratch the affected area. The fleas defecate while they bite. If you scratch the affected area, you are spreading the bacteria all over your body. Therefore, do not scratch, as it will lead to open wounds and secondary infections.
✦ First wash the affected area with an antiseptic soap or lotion. Avoid usage of warm water to wash the affected area. Use cold water, as warm water triggers off itches.

✦ You can wash the bites with green or black tea, or place a used tea bag on the bite. Tea tree oil can also be used to clean the affected area. It will also reduce the itching sensation.
✦ The bite-affected area usually has a swelling. Use of cold compress is suggested on the affected area. It helps in reducing the swelling. You can use an ice pack to get rid of the swelling.

✦ If you do not have an ice pack, then wrap ice in a bandage or use a pack of frozen vegetables for ten minutes. Repeat it after some time till the swelling has gone.
✦ You can apply calamine lotion to the affected area. It will help in reducing the intensity of itching.

✦ In case the affected area is swollen and red, a mild steroid cream, like hydrocortisone can be applied. A steroid cream will help in reducing inflammation.
✦ If the itching is unbearable, an antihistamine can be consumed orally. Antihistamines will help in reducing the itch.

✦ You can also use an aloe vera leaf if you have it at home or use commercially available aloe vera gel on the bite. It will create a soothing effect and reduce itching.
✦ You can also buy an oatmeal bath from a grocery store and use it with tepid water, which will help you in the healing process.

✦ You can also make use of the healing plants, like basil and calendula by crushing its leaves and applying it on the affected area.
✦ Another easy remedy for a flea bite is to mix plain old baking soda with water and place it on the infected area. After a few minutes, you will start feeling better.
✦ Adding liquid soap along with lemon juice to your bath water will help in getting rid of fleas. The areas to check, if fleas are hiding, are hair, toes, nape, behind the ears, back of knees, etc., and in case of women, under the breasts, too.
✦ If you notice symptoms, like headache, fever, body ache, nausea, and rash, they all can be symptoms of murine typhus. It is very important that you consult your physician if and when you notice these symptoms. In case the symptoms aggravate, you might need hospitalization.
✦ In case all these cures for flea bites do not work and the condition aggravates, a visit to the physician is called for, especially if there is a discharge from the bites.
How to Get Rid of Fleas from Home
From the given tips, you will be able to get rid of the flea bites, but it is important that you prevent their recurrence. Hence, it is important to eliminate fleas from your home as well.
A Quick Test: Many a time, you won't even come to know if your house is infested with fleas. This simple test will help you to keep a check. Wear a pair of white socks, enter your room, and walk slowly all over the room. Fleas normally will feel the vibrations of your feet and will jump onto your leg. Look at your socks and see if you have spotted any.
Vacuuming carpet
✦ Vacuuming carpets and furnishing will help in removing fleas, their eggs, and larvae. However, this procedure will have to be repeated for a few days, till you are sure there is no presence of fleas anymore.
✦ Using flea control powder or flea repellents in the house on carpets, clothing, etc., will prove to be of help in keeping flea infestation under control and prevent its recurrence.

✦ You may want to take help from a pest control company to get rid of the fleas, if you find it difficult to determine the right quantity or method of using flea control powder.
✦ You will also have to check your pet to see if it also has been infested with fleas. Do not forget to take your pet to the vet regularly. After all, it's the fleas on your pet's body that can eventually harm you.

✦ The pets in the house can also be sprayed with flea repellents. This will ensure that the fleas do not continue to multiply on the pets.
✦ Dehumidifying the house will keep the infestation under control and also prevent the recurrence. Sunning the carpet, blankets, etc., will prove to be of help in getting rid of flea infestation and also preventing reinfestation.
✦ Clothes, bed covers, etc., should be washed with a detergent in warm to hot water. Lemon juice can be added to the water while washing the clothes. Spraying insecticides on carpets, etc., will also help in getting rid of fleas.
One is not lethargic when it comes to fighting flea infestation. You will be able to get rid of the infestation with persistent efforts. Preventing flea infestation is the best solution; it may not always be possible. If abolishing these blood-sucking insects is taking much longer than anticipated, then it is best to seek help from a pest control company.