The human body is a host to five different types of fleas; cat fleas, dog fleas, rat fleas, human fleas and chigoe fleas. All these species of fleas attach themselves on various parts of the human body and inflict pain through bites.
However, the consequences of flea infestation may go beyond just bites when not treated in time.
It is not a must that you must have the four-legged animals in your home compound to be infested with fleas. Even without pets, your yard or house can be a permanent home for the pests.
Without a lucid knowledge of the tiny critters, you are likely to confuse them with other types of pests that feed on both human and animal blood.
So, how do you tell fleas from other pesky pests? and, how do you know and treat flea bites? Read more from this article for the worrying questions.
How do Fleas Look Like?
Adult fleas exist as wingless insects with flat bodies that are a few millimeters long (3 mm in average).
They have strong hind legs that enable them to jump to as high as 30 to 40 Centimeters. They come with brown or reddish-brown bodies and very prominent during warm summer seasons.
Flea larvae, on the other hand, look like long segmented worms that feature white bodies. They measure about 1.5 MM in length. You can find them in the dark spaces such as cracks in walls where they exist all through the three molting stages. After a few weeks, flea larvae weave cocoons around them as they develop to the pupal stage.
Under favorable conditions–adequate humidity and temperature–pupa break their cocoons and emerge as fully developed adults, ready to suck blood from any host that comes by. They love to suck from pets such as dogs, cats and their young ones.
Most female species can only survive on human blood. They will not reproduce unless they get animal blood. Otherwise, human fleas–commonly found along the sandy beaches–will survive and reproduce on human blood.
If you want to see more pictures of fleas, please take a look to my other linked article.
How do Fleabites Look Like?
Flea bites look like red spots that occur around the feet, ankle and lower legs. They exist in groups of two, three or clusters surrounded by a light hallo or redness. For some people, they exist as pimples. Whereas, for others, the red spots may be larger.
The size of flea spots that connotes bite depends on how allergic you are to the bites. The spots normally increase in size when scratched.
Are Flea Bites Dangerous to Humans?
The level of danger posed by fleabites to humans partly depends on how sensitive your body is to the bites. In a home environment, you may realize that fleas will only bite certain individuals. It is still not known why.
Children are more sensitive to fleabites than adults. Usually, the desensitization normally increases with frequent exposure to flea bites. For the first time, flea bites will produce intense allergic reactions that lead to the production of larger spots around the affected parts. To the hypersensitive, the reaction can be so chronic to the extent that they lead to the development of blisters.
Flea bites are very itchy. In most people, the red bumps and hallo disappear whenever intense pressure is applied over them. Other than the lower leg, other areas that are vulnerable to bites include creases of the elbows, waist areas and areas around the armpit and breast.
But, is it true that fleas are not more than just mere bites?
Yes, “mere” you may call them. However, numerous side effects come along with the bites.
First, fleas have a wide range of hosts. They act as vectors for several diseases such as plague, listeriosis, tularemia, rat typhus, pseudotuberculosis and rickettsioses. it is worth to note that not all fleas carry these diseases. Only the infected fleas can bite and spread diseases. That is why most people do not test for diseases.
Secondly, flea bites come with haemolytic toxins. When the toxins get into the human bloodstream, they alter the normal blood functioning hence resulting to other secondary diseases.
Thirdly, allergic reaction from flea bites can easily bury your happiness. Symptoms to flea allergy include skin rash around the affected areas, headache, fever, diarrhea, shortness of breath and nervous system sensibility.
Pulicosis, a form of skin reaction to toxins in the bloodstream is considered one of the deadly and acute allergic reactions instigated by flea bites. This allergic reaction causes the development of skin lesions around the affected areas and may come with other symptoms such as:
- Swelling of the red spots
- Red rashes and blisters
- Ulcers of the mouth and throat
- Swelling of the lymph, lips and tongues
- Chest pain
When left untreated for sometimes, symptoms of pulicosis may lead to far-reaching consequences by affecting the Central Nervous System.
Lastly, itchiness of fleabites prompts scratching of the affected part. It is natural and normally unavoidable. When you scratch the spots with unclean hand, your skin becomes vulnerable to several bacterial infections with numerous unpredictable consequences.
How to Treat Flea Bites on a Person?
In most people, the main symptom to treat is the itchiness. It normally lasts a few minutes and often accompanied by excruciating pain. Your first-hand, natural remedy is to avoid scratching the spots.
Wash the affected areas and apply over-the-counter anti-itch creams, ointments and oils such as Benadryl Extra Strength Cooling Anti-itch Gel. This cream provides a soothing effect over fleabites and can be used by persons of all ages.
Other similar treatment options include the use of ice packs for swelling and itchiness and use of antiseptic soap to minimize risks of bacterial infections.
Otherwise, if you are hypersensitive to flea bites, then you don’t have any option other than calling your doctor for proper medication.
The only sustainable way to staying free from fleabites is through inculcating effective preventive measures.
This starts by eliminating any favorable micro-climate that attracts these pests. Wash and powder your pets frequently – including their bedding – with an appropriate flea spray.
Vacuum your carpets and keep the homestead clean while maintaining regular spraying in and around your house to prevent heavy infestation.