While flea bites are normally associated with our household pets like cats and dogs, they can occur in humans also. As a pet owner, your chances of having a flea infestation is increased, and this is true for the bites that follow. Fleas can enter your home through any avenue – the furs on your pets, through the clothes of visitors to your home, and any other point of entry at all. Once established in your home, they begin a quick breeding cycle that immediately becomes a constant source of irritation.
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Identifying Features Of Fleas
Fleas are teeny, parasitic insects that afflict both humans and pets. They thrive on blood and can grow to about 3 mm in length. They are usually reddish-brown in color and have been known to jump to about 50 times their own body length in one single hop. Their modified hind legs give them this incredible ability.
A prominent identifying feature is the lack of wings, which leaves them flightless. Who needs those wings though, when you’ve been overcompensated with an ability to jump so high. Their strong claws will clutch to the hairs/furs of their host, preventing them from being dislodged. A mouth part well adapted for piercing through the skin of their hosts and sucking blood has given them the necessary tools to thrive in their given niche.
What Do Their Bites Look Like?
- Flea bites are typically small with round bumps around the skin they occur.
- They appear in groups, clusters or rows of twos or threes.
- There is a certain light-red colored “halo” around these bites.
- Without the necessary wings to fly around, fleabites occur in close proximity to each other. These fleas choose areas within reach, such as the feet and ankles.
How Do I Know It Is A Flea Bite?
Fleas would always choose nearby and handy areas within the body, such as the feet and ankles. Their lack of wings means some certain remote areas of the body, such as the hands, chests or stomach, are not readily within their reach. In cases whereby they have gained access to your bed or sleeping areas, their bites can occur in these seemingly inaccessible areas. So, while it can be confusing differentiating between the different bites that are likely to occur in our bodies, you can’t go wrong with the signature signs flea bites present with – two or three-dot clusters with a signature single point puncture, light-reddish bumps, swellings around the bites and an itchy sensation.
Complications From Flea Bites
Not common, but some flea bites can cause some certain complications. For most of us, flea bites present no trouble aside from the itching. For some others, severe allergic reactions can occur.
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the lips and face
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chest pain
- Change in tongue color
People presenting with these signs should seek medical attention immediately. In some cases, fleas can transmit some diseases, such as plague (Yersinia pestis), flea-borne spotted fever, cat scratch fever, bartonellosis, typhus (Rickettsia typhi), tungiasis and flea tapeworm.
Excessive scratching of flea bites can lead to infection of the bite site.
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The primary goal of therapy is to relieve the itching that are sure to follow after each bite. The topic of corticosteroids may be recommended by your physician.
- Diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benadryl®) – 25, 50mg tablets or capsules.
- Cetirizine hydrochloride (Zyrtec®) – 10 my tablets, 10 mg per day.
- Take oral antibodies if a secondary bacterial infection develops.
- An antihistamine such as hydrocortisone may help minimize itching.
Natural Home Remedies To Adopt
- Ice packs wrapped in a towel and applied to the skin will numb the area and prevent swelling.
- Apply Aloe Vera gel to clear the redness and reduce swelling.
- Witch hazel will also help with itching.
- Mix white vinegar with water in a 1:1 ratio and apply it on the affected area.
- Tea tree oil is also effective against skin irritation that may occur.
Signs Of Flea Infestation
- Behavioral Signs from pets: Our pets will give us ready clues on whether there is a flea infestation in your homes. They may start scratching, biting or licking their hair coats. They take these actions to rid themselves of these fleas. So, if you’re a pet owner and you notice these signs on your pets, carry out more investigations to verify the cause of their sudden change in behavior.
- Flea Bites: The flea bites on you can give you tell-tale signs. Check for the signs of flea bites as mentioned earlier, and if they correspond with those on your body, commence control measures to eradicate these fleas.
- Black Or White Fleck On Your Pets: These are flea dirt or the eggs of the fleas. It’s a clear indication that you have fleas around. This should be differentiated from other dirt. You can do this by wetting with a little water. If it is flea dirt, it will turn into a red-brown color.
- Loss Of Hair/Furs: Your pets may start losing their furs in a condition known as alopecia. Once noticed, commence treatment modalities on your pets and carry out extermination strategies in your home.
- Adult Fleas Can Be Seen Hopping Around: You can find these insects hopping around the household, probably hoping to latch on to their next hosts.
- Vacuum your home to rid your home of fleas, their eggs, and larvae.
- Flea combs are a great option to remove fleas and check for them before they get out of control.
- Treat your pets with anti-flea medications once a month. Medications such as Advantage, Revolution, Sentinel, Advantix can be used.
- Bathe your pets regularly with a flea shampoo.
- Ensure your pets are properly groomed, using flea shampoo and a flea comb.
- Keep your pets’ bedding and their sleeping areas clean. Their bedding should be washed in hot water.
- Keep lawn mowed and treat when necessary.
- Use flea collars. A flea collar is a device used to protect dogs and cats from fleas and ticks. It is a plastic strip that is made by mixing insecticide with plastic resin and molding the mixture into a thin strip. It is designed to continually release the pesticide slowly and can last up to about 12 months. It must be safe and non-toxic.
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