Insect bites are annoying and frustrating. They usually itch and sometimes hurt a lot. Flea bites usually just cause itching and some redness and fortunately they do not hurt. This, however, is not very consoling for pet owners whose skin is covered in flea bites.
About flea bites
Just like a dog scratches itself after being bitten by a flea, an unfortunate human will have an irresistible urge to scratch the itching caused by flea bites. A flea bite is itchy because of a substance that fleas inject under the skin when they bite. The substance is an anticoagulant meant to keep the blood from clotting, so the flea can feed on it. The human body reacts with this substance and it results in swelling, redness and itching.
The reaction to a flea bite varies from person to person, and for some it is only a mild nuisance while for others it is almost intolerable.
Treatment for flea bites
It is very important to resist the urge to scratch the bite, because it may lead to a secondary infection. Fleas defecate while they feed on human blood, and if the skin becomes damaged from scratching, the bacteria may enter the system and cause a secondary infection.
The affected area should first be thoroughly cleaned with cold water, soap and an antiseptic.
Calamine lotion, rubbing alcohol, tea tree oil or vinegar can be applied to relieve the itching. As for the swelling, it helps to apply cold compresses or ice packs.
Steroid creams can be applied to reduce inflammation, while oral antihistamines can be taken in case the itching is severe.
How to prevent flea bites
The first step is to use a flea powder or a similar product on the pet to eliminate all the fleas on their fur. The fur should be combed thoroughly to remove the eggs and the larvae. This is best done outside the house, so the eggs do not fall on carpets or upholstery and hatch.
Covers, blankets, rugs, carpets, drapes, towels and clothes are all places where fleas usually leave their eggs, and therefore they need to be washed, preferably with hot water and a strong detergent.
After cleaning the house, it is recommended to use dehumidifiers and flea repellents in order to stop the fleas from re-entering the house. Fleas can be seen even in houses without pets.
It is very important to prevent flea bites because fleas can be transmitting agents for very serious diseases, like bubonic plague, Murine typhus and tapeworm.