Even though fleas prefer to feed on the blood of pets than humans, these wingless parasites will not hesitate to bite humans within their jumping distance. Most victims of flea bites will suffer from an itchy annoyance on the affected area but bites on humans can eventually progress to serious health issues. An effective tactic for managing flea bites involves the elimination of the source of infestation as well as implementing preventive methods in order to ensure that the house and pets are free from fleas.
What are fleas?
Fleas are characterized as brown and oval-shaped insects that feed on the blood of various animals including dogs, cats, birds and several wild animals. Even though fleas do not have wings, they can utilize their strong hind legs to jump far distances in order to bite humans. Since humans do not have fur, the likely target areas for fleas are the feet and legs.
Bites of fleas
The reaction to flea bites tends to vary from one individual to another. In some individuals, they do not experience any reaction while others have evident swelling, redness and severe itchiness in a matter of hours after bitten. The flea bites can even bleed or develop into small blisters or a wound, especially if it was scratched.
The swelling usually occurs on the area surrounding the flea bite, but a rash can spread. The affected area can also develop a red-colored ring that turns white if pressed. Aside from the discomfort, flea bites can also progress to serious issues such as an allergic reaction to the substances that are present in the saliva of the flea or a severe infection.
Treatment options for flea bites
If an individual has been bitten by a flea, he/she must avoid scratching the affected area since the skin can break, thus allowing bacteria to enter and infection can develop. As a first aid measure, you have to wash the bite site using an antiseptic soap to prevent infection from setting in and place an ice pack to minimize the itchiness and swelling. You can reduce the itchiness by using an over-the-counter hydrocortisone or calamine lotion. In cases that involve several flea bites, it is best to consult a doctor so that antihistamines can be prescribed.
Caring for infected flea bites
Once bacteria enter the skin via an irritated flea bite, it can lead to a serious skin infection such as cellulitis. In such cases, pus can drain from the wound. The other common symptoms include swelling, pain, warm skin, redness and even fever. If the individual experiences any of these symptoms or the bite continues to worsen, it is best to consult a doctor.
How to prevent flea bites
Aside from treating the flea bite, it is vital to take the appropriate steps in order to prevent future issues. The pets must be treated as well as the soft furnishings and carpets using the appropriate insecticide as well as vacuuming the carpets on a regular basis. Eliminating a flea infestation involves several attempts but if the infestation persists, it is best to contact a professional pest control service.