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How to protect yourself from fleabites

What are Fleas?

A flea is a A blood-sucking insect, which feeds on animals. Fleas can bite humans and is capable of jumping from 14 to 16 inches.

Female fleas begin laying eggs within 48 hours of their first blood meal and can lay as many as 200 eggs in a matter of days.

Adult fleas can survive for a few months without feeding. The flea uses its jaws to cut through skin, usually on accessible parts of the body such as the legs or feet. Flea saliva contains anticoagulants to encourage the blood to keep flowing.

Female fleas lay their eggs soon after feeding. Flea eggs are light colored and oval-shaped. The larvae cocoon themselves within weeks of hatching. Vibration, such as footsteps, prompts adult fleas to emerge from their cocoons.

Fleas use a wide range of hosts and can transmit diseases from one host to another. Some of the diseases that fleas transmit are murine typhus and bubonic plague. Fleas also transmit tapeworm larvae.

Fleas that bite humans

There are three main species of flea that infest humans:

  • Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)
  • Dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis)
  • Human flea (Pulex irritans).

Flea bites

A flea bite is extremely itchy.

Complications of flea bites

Infections caused by scratching are very common.

Symptoms of a flea bite

Some of the most common symptoms of a flea bite are:

  • rash with small bumps that itch and may bleed
  • severe itching in a specific area
  • hives

Can flea bites be treated?

Yes. If you frequently get bitten by fleas, it is best to break the flea life cycle by treating the home, the pets, and the outside environment with insecticide. Home foggers and flea collars are not always effective. Birds and fish must be protected during spraying. If home treatments are ineffective, professional extermination may be needed.

An over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream can help relieve itching.

Other common treatments for flea bites are:

  • wash the bites with antiseptic soap to reduce the risk of infection.
  • apply an ice pack frequently to help relieve swelling.
  • use calamine lotion, anesthetic creams or similar to treat the itching.

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