FLEA BITES IN HUMANS: SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENTS
Most of us probably think that only animals suffer from flea bites. Even if you check on the internet and type the word “fleas”, you would most probably see pictures of both the flees and animals side by side with each other. Unfortunately, even us humans are fair game to these fleas.
Please fleas, leave me alone
Flea bites are very itchy, and even painful on the skin surrounding the flea bite. This discomfort can really affect you in your daily activities. Flea bites can also cause a slightly raised bump on the skin, much like a mosquito bite. You may also develop unsightly and embarrassing hives or rash on the skin near the area of the bite. Aside from that, too much scratching can cause damage to the skin, and a bacterial infection may develop from that.
Flea bites can often appear like a line of pairs of bites and can remain itchy for several weeks.
What are fleas?
Fleas are small parasitic insects that have reddish-brown bodies. Their size is about ⅛ mm in length. Their bodies are narrow with long claws on all of their six legs. They feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals, which also include humans, which is called hematophagy. They can also feed on the blood of birds. Their bodies are flattened sideways. The shape of their bodies enables them to move through their hosts’ feathers or fur. Their bodies are covered with hard plates that are called sclerites. Even though they do not have wings, they can still easily jump from one host to another because they are excellent jumpers. They can jump as high as 50 times their own size. They have great legs really designed for jumping. They are also equipped with mouthparts that are designed for sucking blood.
While other insects have compound eyes, like flies and cockroaches, the fleas have simple eye spots with one biconvex lens. Some does not have eyes at all.
All in all, there are about 2,500 species of fleas.
What are the types of fleas found in the United States?
There are 2,500 species of fleas all throughout the world; fortunately for us, not all of this is in the United States. Out of that number, there are only about 200 flea species here in America. Listed below are the most common types of fleas here in America:
- Cat fleas – Their main hosts are cats, but we should be wary still; they are known to attack even dogs, humans, and other animals. When they are inside homes, they hide on carpets mostly but can hide anywhere too. They lay their eggs anywhere, be it on your pets or around the house.
- Rat fleas – They are most commonly found in rats but can also use humans as a host. There are two kinds of rat fleas: the Oriental and the Northern rat fleas. The Northern rat fleas originated from Europe. They have elongated bodies, about 3 to 4 mm in length, and with eyes on its head. They are the most widely spread among all its genus. On the other hand, the Oriental rat flea is about 2.5 mm in length and are very good jumpers due to the shape of their bodies. The Oriental rat flea is the primary culprit for the bubonic plague that rocked Europe during the middle ages.
- Human flea – It has been discovered that there are also fleas that infect humans. Human fleas like to hide in the hairy parts of the human body. They choose people who do not practice good hygiene.
- Sticktight fleas – They infest dogs, cats, birds, and even humans. What they love to do is to bury their heads into the skin of their hosts. This is the reason why it is very hard to remove them from the skin.
- Springtail fleas – Also known as snow flea, they like to live in damp areas. They are very small, about the size of a pinhead but are fantastic leapers; they can jump up to four feet. They are different from the other fleas in that they do not attach themselves to animals unless there is a skin infection which would make the skin damp.
Ways we get fleas
Fleas lay eggs in places frequented by your pets. This could be in the garden, on your carpet, on your bed if you allow them there, on your pet’s bed, or on the furniture. Outdoors, they like to stay in shady, protected areas. They then jump from one host to another; they jump even on humans.
If you got fleas, then you need to lose them. The easiest way would be to pick up your phone and call the best pest control management in North Carolina, Go-Forth Pest Control. Go-Forth Pest Control has excellent experience in getting rid of pests like fleas.
Flea life cycle
The life cycle of a flea has four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Their eggs take about two to three days to hatch. An adult female can lay as much as 40 eggs a day. The female adult lays her eggs on her host, which is usually your pet. Most of the time though, these eggs fall off as your pet walks or runs around and play, and these eggs would fall off from the host. Eventually, these eggs would hatch on different parts of your house.
After the eggs hatch, it becomes larvae. They are tiny and look like worms. They would stay like this for 5 days. It then gets into a cocoon, until they sense a host and then they become adult fleas.
A fully developed flea will only emerge from the cocoon once it has a host it can jump on. A female flea, once it had its first blood meal, can lay eggs after 1 to 2 days of that meal.
What if fleas bite us?
Fleas not only bite animals but humans too. They usually bite around the ankles, legs, and then the arms. Fleas are incredible jumpers, that is why they can reach our ankles and legs. And when we caress our pets, they are able to transfer to us.
Fleas bites on humans usually resolve by itself. Symptoms of flea bites are itching, which is actually caused by the saliva of the fleas. However, no matter how itchy it becomes, avoid scratching it. Infection may occur in doing so.
Some people though may develop an allergic reaction to flea bites. Symptoms are dizziness, difficulty breathing, nausea, chest pain, and swelling of the lips or tongue. If these symptoms show up, consult with a healthcare provider.
When you get flea bites, wash the area of the bites with soap and water. You may also use alcohol, vinegar, or tea tree oil. These will soothe the itchiness.
You may also try using apple cider vinegar. Choose one that is organic. You can either use a Q tip and dab it gently on the bite site, or you can pour a cupful of vinegar onto your bath water and soak in this bath.
Getting rid of fleas
- Use a vacuum cleaner to clean your carpets, rugs, and furniture. Do this once or twice a week. Set your vacuum cleaner to the highest setting, and your brush to its most powerful.
- After vacuuming, dispose of the bag. Seal the bag as it may contain the pupae. .
- Sweep the wooden floors and tiles. Keep your house clean.
- Wash your pet’s bed and bedding with hot, soapy water. This will kill the fleas.
- Use a flea comb. When using a flea comb, bring with you a cup of soapy water, and do this outside the house. Dip the comb with the fleas you caught into the soapy water to drown them.
- Make use of a DIY lemon solution. Get a piece of lemon and thinly slice it. Put it into a pint of water then boil. Pour into a spray bottle. Spray the lemon solution around the house. You may also use other citrus fruits like oranges, lime, or grapefruit.
If nothing works, call Go-Forth Pest Control
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family owned commercial service solutions provider of modern pest control services and techniques, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business, making our service to you more efficient, safer and more convenient. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina.
We bring a fresh and innovative approach to the pest control industry, using family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination that caters to your specific needs. Our expert experience in exterminating pests like fleas, cockroaches, weevils, mosquitoes, mice, flies, termites, ants, and spiders can really make you say goodbye to these pests in your home. You may check us on Facebook or Google us to see what our satisfied customers have to say about us.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.