Fleas are small, wingless insects which are very harmful for both humans and pets. They have a flat-shaped body and a piercing mouth with sharp jaws. They survive on the blood sucked out from humans and animals. When they pierce their mouth into human skin, an anticoagulant present in their saliva gets injected into the blood which prevents the blood from clotting. This enable them to keep sucking blood from the human body until their thirst is quenched. Basically, symptoms show up because of the harmful anticoagulant that causes adverse skin reactions. It can even transmit some more serious diseases like murine typhus and bubonic plague from one person to another.
Symptoms of Flea Bites
The signs and symptoms of flea bites are observed all of a sudden and they usually start within hours of biting. The bites can be identified as flea bites by the presence of clusters of small, red bumps that appear on the skin surface. If you look at them closely, you would find a red halo around them and there is a tiny hole at the center. This tiny hole is meant for sucking out the blood. One unique characteristic of fleas is that they do not bite a person just once but several times. This is because, the fleas have a tendency to move around restlessly all over the human skin.
These skin bumps caused by flea bites are extremely bothersome as they continue to give a constant itching sensation for many days. The intensity of this skin irritation varies from mild to severe. At times, the itchiness can be so bad that the affected person may end up scratching the skin. This kind of skin lesion is susceptible to bacterial attack which triggers serious skin infection. As a result, the size of the bumps increases and skin rashes may spread to other parts of the body as well.
In small children, the symptoms become more serious than in adults. Even some adults are more sensitive towards flea bites than others. When they are bitten by fleas, severe allergic skin reactions occur that leads to papular urticaria or formation of hives. These hives often appear in large numbers and their size may vary in between 0.2 and 2 cm. Some of them may develop into fluid-filled blisters.
In general, the welts caused by flea bites are found more on the lower part of the body like the legs and ankles. It can also bite in the waist area, armpits, and other fold of body joints such as knees and elbows. When the fleas come in direct contact with your skin from the pet's body, the skin bumps can be noticed in the areas like forearms and elbows where you were holding the pet.
Treatment for Flea Bites
The treatment involves all those measures that are required for a quick relief from the symptoms. Therefore, action must be taken as soon as the skin bumps are formed, so that the problem does not get aggravated. First of all, wash the affected spot properly with antiseptic soap and cold water to disinfect them. Never use hot or warm water on them as it can increase the itchy feeling. The next step is application of ice. Wrap up a few ice cubes in a clean piece of cloth and apply it on the flea bites. This will have a soothing effect on the itching sensation, and the swelling can also be controlled to a certain extent. To bring down the skin irritation, over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams can also be applied. However, if these home treatments fail to show any effect, then the doctor should be consulted. Generally, they prescribe oral antihistamine medicines to check the skin allergic reaction and calamine lotion for topical application on the itchy bites. Sometimes, small children may develop serious infection a few days after flea bites. In such cases, they should be taken to the doctor who will give antibiotics for the treatment of the infection.
Along with the treatment, you also have to make efforts to eliminate the harmful fleas from your house. They usually enter the house through the pets. So, take them to the vet for flea treatment. Flea control in the house is also very important.