Anybody who’s suffered from a bad flea infestation knows how annoying Flea Bites can be. Not only do you have to watch your pet suffer and scratch at their fleas, but your bites can be quite horrible as well. The reason flea bites itch is that flea saliva contains an anti-coagulant that causes an allergic reaction and results in the small, itchy bump that you see.
The best thing you can do for flea bites is not scratch them, obviously. This is always more easily said than done, but the more you can do to not scratch, the better. However, there are a few tips to reduce how much the bites itch.
Among the most popular methods to relieve itching are calamine lotion, tea tree oil, vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Ice can also work temporarily by numbing the area of the bite. You might also try hand-sanitizer, anti-septic cream and sunburn remedies.
Obviously, the best thing to do as a long-term solution is get rid of the fleas themselves. This is not always easy to do, but if you follow some fairly simple steps, and stay with a careful and concerted program, you can succeed.
The first step is to kill the fleas on your pet. There are many topical pet flea treatments available, but probably the most popular is Frontline. Frontline comes in small, single-dose vials that are applied between the pets shoulder blades. The treatment then disperses out through the animal’s hair follicles and oil glands, and should provide protection for one month.
The next step is to get rid of the fleas in your home. This can be difficult to do with a serious infestation, but following a careful plan is the key. First, wash everything you can that might be infested with fleas, including pet bedding, cushions, carpets, etc. Throw them in the washing machine and wash with hot water and detergent.
The best thing you can do for fleas in your home is vacuuming. Vacuum your carpets and floors as much as possible, every day if you can, but at least three days a week. You can also buy some chemical sprays and foggers if you have a bad infestation. If you do this, make sure you buy a product that contains both an insecticide, such as pyrethrin, as well as an insect growth regulator (IGR) such as methoprene. This ensures that the spray will kill both adult fleas, as well as eggs, larva and pupae.
The key to this simple program is to continue to treat both your home and pet long past the time the fleas seem to be gone. If your pet stops scratching, still treat them with Frontline. If your home seems fine, don’t stop the frequent vacuuming. Fleas can be quite tenacious and hide out as eggs and larva, only to surprise you with a new infestation just when you think you’re in the clear.
The domestic cat is the primary host of the common flea. It can maintain a life cycle on other carnivores and is responsible for most dog flea infestations. A human can be bitten by it but cannot become infested.
After the female flea lays it eggs on its host, it migrates from the hair coat of the host to the body. The larvae hide from the light and feed on dried blood. When the flea is fully developed, it jumps to a new host and immediately starts to feed on blood.
Flea allergy dermatitis develops when a cat has an allergic reaction. Large infestations can cause dehydration. It can transmit parasites to animals and humans. Bartonella, murine thypus, and tapeworm are some examples.
Pulicosis or flea bites is a skin condition caused by a flea. It begins with skin irritation after thr bite. It can develop into swelling of the bitten area, ertheyma, ulcers in the mouth and throat and soreness of the areolas. If these conditions are not checked, it can spread to the lymph nodes impacting the central nervous system.
If a cat becomes infested with fleas, the fleas need to be eliminated immediately to prevent tapeworms from developing. Over the counter sprays and powders are usually not strong enough. Flea collars treat the area around the neck. If the collar gets wet, it may become ineffective. Monthly medications prescribed by a veterinarian, given orally, topically or injected, work the best.
If a cat has fleas, a house has fleas. Vacuum everything in the house and immediately dispose of the vacuum bags. Wash bedding and linens in hot water. "Bomb'" the house with insecticide foggers. As soon as fleas appear, call a veterinarian who can recommend shampoos, foams, dips, sprays, oral and topical medications and foggers to use.
The spot on medications are becoming the most popular way to prevent fleas. They are effective and easy to apply. The medication is usually applied to the shoulder blades, absorb into the skin and protects the whole body. It kills the fleas within hours and is safer to a cat because of its lower toxicity. It can also withstand bathing.
Oral medications are recommended when frequent bathing is needed. The medication is usually administered in a monthly pill or chewable food form or 6 month injection. The medication does not kill fleas but prevents reproduction. If medication is not desirable, special metal flea combs are available to remove them.
Natural Flea Control - How to Have a Flea-Less Pet
Beside infesting and sucking off blood from your pets, flea bites on people too. Among all insects' bites, flea bites on people are one of the most commonly seen.
Human can be bitten by a variety of fleas namely the dog flea, cat flea or the human flea. Fleas use their jaws to cut through the skin and then excrete their saliva containing enzymes and anticoagulant. The anticoagulant will prevents blood from clotting and enable the fleas to suck on the blood. The enzymes excreted cause all the allergic reactions seen on people.
What do flea bites look like?
Human flea bites generally occur along the ankles and lower portions of the legs. A flea bite can usually be described as a red spot accompanied by a halo of redness that can last for several hours depending on one's reaction to it. It may causes a slight irritation or itch in some people while others with extreme allergies will sometimes break out into hives and have excessive swelling. Children tend to have more sensitive skin and as such, flea bites seen in children are usually more severe than in adults.
Treating Flea Bites
Before you run to your family doctor to seek medical treatment, here are some home treatments for flea bites that you may try especially if it's just a mild case of allergy.
1. Wash affected area with a mild antiseptic soap or detergent
2. Put an ice pack over the affect area. This will help in reducing swelling and inflammation
3. Apply some calamine lotion to relieve the itch
4. A mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone which are easily available from a local pharmacy will be useful in relieving the swellings and itch more rapidly.
As always, prevention is better than cure. Fleas breed at a rapid rate and getting rid of fleas can be an uphill task. Flea control requires an integrated plan, which involves treating your pets, entire house, backyards and gardens. All these require both great efforts and persistence but will be all worthwhile when you get to finally declare your home flea free and bites free!