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!
We had a huge problem with fleas.We were renting a 2 bedroom flat on a plot and they had not finished building the kitchen yet. When you walked through the kitchen your legs were covered in fleas, it looked like you had just put on a pair of black knee height socks.
We tried every product on the market we could get our hands on, from flea powder to fumigation tabs. The fleas would diminish for a few days, but in no time you would be wearing your black knee high flea socks again. The infestation of fleas made our home feel grimy and dirty. I had problems sleeping as I could feel the Fleas biting me, and I would feel itchy and scratchy the whole night.
Flea powder and flea collars weren't helping for the dogs anymore.
After six months of this nightmare we had one of two choices
1. Move (which wasn't an option at the time due to financial constraints and circumstances)
2. Burn the fleas. We were contemplating how we were going to successfully implement this dangerous strategy.
Fortunately our neighbor had visitors who heard about our desperate plans of getting rid or our flea infestation problem. They suggested that we use Pine Gel. I had never heard of this product and was willing to give it a try. We found a tub of 500ml Pine Gel at a local soap shop, ADA Distributors.
We diluted the 500ml Pine Gel tub with 20 liters of water, first we washed our dogs with Pine Gel and then sprayed the infested area for 3 days until our 20 liters of diluted Pine Gel was finished. What we saw was an incredible sight, as we started spraying you could see a black cloud of fleas as they were fleeing from the Pine Gel solution. You have to see it to appreciate it or believe it, there is no other way I can describe it to you.
Needless to say we were rid of our Flea infestation and without having to take any drastic measures. Our home and our dogs have been Flea free ever since we discovered Pine Gel. We have washed our dogs once a month with Pine Gel solution and have had no side or unwanted affects to date, we have used this product for 3 years now. I hope you benefit from this information. Please read this note as I have copied it from the Product for your information for you to make an informed decision if you decide to make use of this product.
Pine Gel is a thick green concentrated all purpose cleaner with a pleasant fresh pine smell. It can be used safely on most surfaces but could be harmful on painted surfaces. Ideal for bathrooms, showers, toilets, walls, restrooms, floors, tiles, counters, doors, tables, windows, shelving, and many more uses. If it is used as a laundry supplement check for color fastness before using product.
Not to be used on food preparation areas. Use as supplied or dissolve in water. Store away from food in a cool place out of reach from children.
How to Tell the Difference Between Flea Bites and Bed Bug Bites
Fleas are more than just disgusting; they will carry several serious diseases, parasites and even weaken your dog's immune system. Also, fleas can bite the other pets & people in your house, leading to infestations, allergic reactions and possibly allergies & skin rashes. Fleas can be found almost everywhere on Earth, although they are usually more abundant in warm climates and in more southern or tropical locations. Keep in mind that dogs in kennels or anywhere where they frequently interact with other dogs are at a higher risk for flea infestations since not all dog owners are responsible with flea prevention.
Luckily, there are many effective topical solutions and other vet prescribed treatments to control & eliminate fleas in the house and on your dog's body. Several of the herbal and homeopathic flea controls are not quite as effective but still serve a purpose. There are also many ineffective and bogus over-the-counter flea control products that just don't work. Before picking flea control program, discuss with your vet and decide what will be the best approach for you and your dog.
The Life Cycle of a Flea
Despite being very annoying, fleas really do have an amazing life cycle and it is easy to see why they are so abundant around the world. A flea's whole lifecycle protects them and gives them the best possible opportunity to reproduce, which they do in very large numbers. To understand the life cycle of the flea the stages will be outlined below:
Eggs - the eggs are spawned in your dog's hair and are not attached to the root, instead, they are just deposited on the skin. This means that the eggs can drop off the dog onto bedding (yours or theirs), furniture, or even onto other pets. These eggs can survive for years under the right conditions. Each female flea can lay roughly 15-20 eggs per day and about 600 eggs during her entire lifespan. The eggs hatch very quickly in time periods ranging from a two days to two weeks, depending on the climate and other conditions.
Larva - roughly 30% of the fleas on a dog are in the larva stage at any given time. There are actually three distinct stages to larva but it is essential to understand that the larva are blind and avoid light at all costs. Dark areas are where they prefer to live. Creases in bedding and furniture are prime locations for larva to be discovered. They eat dried blood found in adult flea feces and dead skin. During this time they are not a true since they do not really suck blood or affect the dog's health. The larva stage will last between two weeks to a month or longer.
Pupa - the larva spins a cocoon and develops for between five days to fourteen days. During this time they do not eat anything but the cocoon might cause irritation to the dog's skin if it is on the body or in the bedding.
Adult fleas - adult fleas are the ones that do the biting and cause irritation. They bite the skin & suck small amounts of blood from the host, be it a dog, cat, other animal or human. Fleas will cause allergic reactions in most species that lead to scabs, dry and flaky patches of skin and possibly hair loss. Adult fleas will not reproduce without ingesting blood, but they can drop into a form of hibernation for many months if there is no blood available.
Be sure to plan for routine flea control and management for your dog. Carefully watch for any of the signs of fleas, like flea dirt, in the dog's coat. Flea dirt looks like small round dark balls that appear similar to large, black sand grains close to the skin. This is a positive sign of flea infestations and requires immediate treatment.