A flea is not only a pest but a parasite, too. These tiny insects are not only present in the coat of your pets. They also bite and suck blood from your pets and can even bite humans.
You can be bitten by a variety of fleas. It depends on the type and number of animals you have in your home. There are three common fleas that bite humans: cat fleas, dog fleas, and of course the human flea.
The Flea and the Flea Bite
A flea is a parasite that survives through hematophagy. In other words, fleas get their nourishment from the blood of their host – either your pet’s or your blood.
Fleas don’t have wings, but they can jump as high as two feet. Once they land on the skin of their host, they bite using their mandibles to break the outer surface of the skin. They use their proboscis to initially inject their saliva and an anticoagulant. The saliva acts like an anesthetic so that the bite is not felt immediately.
Upon successfully breaking the skin and inserting the proboscis, the parasite will then start to suck out as much blood as it can. It is only after a few minutes that the host will feel the itch and pain of the bite. That signals the wearing off of the anesthetic.
Flea bites are often found on the lower leg area. A flea bite looks like a small red dot or swell that is accompanied by a red halo surrounding it. Depending on the type of flea that bit you, the swell and redness may last from a few minutes to several hours. It feels very itchy and when scratched can become very tender and painful.
Flea bites just don’t cause pain and discomfort. Just like mosquitoes, fleas also act as carriers of various diseases. (For mosquito extermination guide, learn how to repel mosquitoes)
Risks of Flea Bites to Human Health
A flea bite may seem more like a nuisance than a threat to your health until you learn that these parasites are carriers of various diseases. The bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing organisms from one animal are passed through the flea as it feeds on its blood. The “dirt” is contaminated with these diseases and there is a possibility of transmission.
Hematophagus insects like fleas have always been considered a health concern by medical professionals. These creatures are capable of carrying and transmitting a wide variety of diseases like the bubonic plague, typhus, and tapeworm. (Learn how to get rid of tapeworm)
When a flea bite is scratched, it exposes the inner layer of the skin to foreign materials that eventually cause infections. There are also a lot of people who are allergic to flea bites. Such allergies can be life-threatening or at least debilitating.
Getting Rid of Flea Bites
There are a lot of remedies for flea bites. There are topical creams and ointments that are ideal for few or isolated bites. There are also a number of home remedies that use readily-available household materials.
A flea bite causes more discomfort than a mosquito bite. It causes a small and sharp pain accompanied by some itching, especially when scratched. You will know if a flea is responsible for that uncomfortable itch if you have small red bumps on your skin that are often located on the lower part of your leg.
The first thing that you have to do to get rid of flea bites is to avoid scratching them. They are extremely itchy and painful, but scratching will not make you feel any better. In fact, it will even add more pain and discomfort.
Apply a topical cream for insect bites like calamine, menthol creams, or camphor. The cream may take a few minutes to take effect, so you have to try ignoring it for a while.
If you don’t have any cream nearby, you can sooth the itch by applying a cold compress on the bites or by allowing cool water to run over it. Bananas also are excellent as remedies. You can use the inside part of the banana peel as an instant itch remover. Just apply it to the little welts and in a few seconds, the itch will at least be relieved.
If you are allergic to flea bites, you must seek medical help. Difficulty in breathing, severe itching, and a feverish feeling are just some of the common signs that you are allergic to the bites.
Now that you know that fleas pose serious threats to your health, the best way to get rid of these bites is to attack the source of them.
The first thing that you have to do is deal with the flea problem of your pets. The best combination is to apply flea powder on your dog or cat before you give it a bath. The flea powder will kill the majority of the fleas on your pet.
After that, you can proceed in giving your pet a bath. For better results, use a flea soap to kill the remnants on its skin. Let the soap soak in for a couple of minutes before you rinse it off. Dry your pet and inspect for fleas. You may find a couple of fleas, so remove them and make sure you kill them.
Make sure your pet does not go outside too much. If that is not possible, regular baths are a must. You should also clean up their food bowls, the place where they sleep and everything else they use to make sure you get rid of all the fleas. Using chemicals like insecticides in your home will help get rid of fleas and other insects in hiding.
If your pet is the outdoor type, consider buying a flea collar. A flea collar constantly emits a chemical that is toxic to fleas. It will reduce the number of fleas that get to your pet’s skin.
Fleas Be Gone
Fleas are nasty creatures that need to stay off you, your pets and your home. You are not the only one suffering when there are fleas in your home. Your pets suffer the same way you do, but they can’t do anything about it but scratch – damaging and wounding their skin.
There are a lot of products and alternatives that can effectively get rid of or control flea infestations. Do some research and ask around so that you find the right product or solution to your problem. If you enjoyed reading this article you’ll surely enjoy reading how to get rid rid of fleas naturally.
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