Flea bites are not only a painful nuisance but they can also transmit disease and infection. If you or your pet have flea bites it is important to understand how to treat the wound to prevent infection, and how to eradicate the flea infestation to prevent future bites.
What do flea bites look like?
Flea bites usually appear as raised red bumps on the skin, with a single puncture or entry point in the center, and often form in clusters. They look a lot like mosquito bites and are very itchy (see illustration).
What animals do fleas bite and do they bite humans?
All warm blooded vertebrates, including people, are the target of flea bites. Fleas are famously known for tormenting dogs and cats, but they also will bite any other will warm-blooded animal if they have the opportunity.
Why do fleas bite, anyway?
They need blood in order to reproduce. Fleas can go up to a year without eating by going into a dormant state when no hosts are available. When the opportunity for a blood meal arises, the flea will awaken from its dormant state in order to feed and reproduce.
What should I know about flea eggs?
After feeding, the female flea will lay up to 50 eggs per day, usually on the skin or body of the host. Many of the eggs drop-off of the skin or hair of the host and are scattered about, especially in the area where the host sleeps. The eggs hatch into larvae in 3 to 10 days. They remain resting until they are stimulated by vibration from a target host.
Why do flea bites itch?
The flea injects secretions into the skin to prevent the blood from coagulating and also to anesthetize the area as to prevent detection by the host. These secretions cause an allergic reaction that results in the raised red bumps and the itching.
What dangers do flea bites pose?
If the flea bites are not treated properly, they can become swollen and infected. It is therefore important to understand the proper procedure for flea bites treatment. Fleas can also transmit disease to humans and animals such as typhus, tapeworms, and bubonic plague.
How do I treat flea bites on humans?
Wash the area with soap and water and treat with a disinfectant. Keep the wounds clean and dry and they should disappear in a matter of a few days. Without proper care, the flea bites can become infected. Calamine lotion can also be used to reduce itching and swelling.
How do I treat flea bites on pets?
The most effective and modern way of treating flea bites on pets is to use a prescription medication, such as Frontline, that is either taken orally or applied directly to the skin. These medications will effectively kill the flea population in a matter of hours, and prevent the life cycle of the fleas to continue.
How do I treat flea infestation in the home?
Fleas and larvae in the carpet and on the floor of the home can remain dormant but still alive for months or years so it is important to take measures to kill them. A fogger is an effective method of doing this. It is also helpful to vacuum frequently.