Flea bites: symptoms and treatment

Do you think you have flea bites? We tell you what its symptoms are and how to treat them below.

Last update: December 28, 2021

Flea bites are very common in people who have pets or many rugs at home. Fleas are very small insects that live as parasites by feeding on the blood of a host (dogs and cats, for example). They can live up to 100 days without food on carpets or furniture, and its bite generates great discomfort and even diseases.

Indeed, the flea is a known vector that can transmit various diseases to humans. Think of it as the preferred vector for bubonic plague, although in practice most think it was rats. In the following lines we teach you to identify the symptoms of flea bites, the treatment options and why you should take action to get rid of these parasites.

Symptoms of flea bites

In addition to redness and local lesions, itching or itching is one of the most characteristic symptoms of bites.

The symptoms of flea bites are very varied. In general, it depends on the number of fleas that have bitten you, your age and the possible reactions that the body develops. Most people have no visible symptoms, to the point that their bites can go unnoticed. Others may manifest the following signs:

  • Hives with a slight relief that develop an hour after the bite.
  • Slight burning or itching in the affected area.
  • Redness when scratching.
  • Irritation that worsens as you touch or scratch the area.

Most hives develop in groups of three, as this is the classic eating pattern for these insects. They will almost always focus on the feet or legs and are usually uncomplicated. Most of them appear when you scratch the affected area, as this usually leads to an infection.

There is evidence that flea bites can cause allergic reactions in people, initially in children under 7 years of age. They are also known to transmit murine typhus, so in these cases you can develop fever, nausea, vomiting and muscle aches. Studies and research indicate that flea bites can lead to papular urticaria and dermatitis.

Despite the fact that the chances of developing these conditions are latent, most fleas are free of the pathogens that cause these complications. As already indicated, the most severe symptoms arise from secondary infections when insistently scratching the affected area. This is because fleas defecate on the skin, and scratching can get their feces inside and cause further injury.

Treatment for flea bites

Properly washing the area affected by the bite is usually enough to prevent further problems.

Since most flea bites are not associated with complications, in general, patients do not require any treatment for them. However, it is recommended to wash the affected area with soap and water. Scratching in the vicinity of the bites should be avoided at all costs to avoid secondary infection.

If you develop moderate or severe symptoms such as local swelling or itching, you may have had an allergic reaction to flea bites. The action plan that you can implement is to apply cold compresses and smear the affected area with creams to treat the inflammation. If you require it, you can also take oral antihistamines such as loratadine or cetirizine.

Ideally, you should avoid hot showers and minimize the use of garments that cause pressure in the compromised area.. In addition to this, you may want to implement a number of changes that reduce the chances of future flea bites. Keep these recommendations in mind:

  • Take your pets to the vet to be evaluated for fleas. With their help, it will be determined which alternative to use to eliminate them.
  • Vacuum regularly, especially furniture and rugs. Discard the bag with each use to prevent fleas from laying eggs.
  • Change your bed sheets and covers frequently (it will also help you get rid of mites).
  • Try to reduce the amount of rugs you have in the home, especially those with a plush texture.
  • Regularly clean the bed your pet sleeps in.
  • Wash your clothes frequently and maintain good hygiene in general.

In some extreme cases, you will need to hire a qualified pest control company. This is very rare, but if necessary it will be the only viable solution. Check with those agencies that offer this service close to your home and consider it an alternative if you think things are getting out of control.

In summary, flea bites generally do not cause symptoms or major complications. They are a greater threat to your pets than to yourself, although you should have a plan in place to reduce them if you do detect them. If you think that the bite may be from another insect or has evolved to more serious signs, do not hesitate to consult a dermatologist.

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