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How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Flea Bite And Mosquito Bite?

Mosquito and flea bites both produce itchy bumps on the skin leading to irritation on the skin of the person. Scratching these bites can lead to broken skin that will further lead to infections and therefore should be avoided. Since both of these occur as a result of inflammatory response to the foreign agents injected by them into the blood, they are mostly treated with topical steroids, oral anti-histamines or antibacterial lotions or creams.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Flea Bite And Mosquito Bite?

How Can You Tell The Difference Between A Flea Bite And Mosquito Bite?

Flea bites mostly occur in groups with a distinct central small hemorrhagic area that occurs as a result of piercing through the skin to draw blood from the host. In rare cases formation of blisters also occur on the bitten area in some people. The children are more susceptible to extreme allergies as they are not immune to the bite and the inflammatory response produced to the foreign substance is more complex. They mostly affect the legs, feet and exposed areas of the skin that they can reach. Some people who have low immunity will react more to the bites and produce severe symptoms as compared to others. They usually have no preference of hosts and bite everyone equally. Repeated flea bites will lead to extreme sensitivity to the person and mostly no reaction will take place unless the person is sensitive to the proteins and saliva of the flea that is introduced into the blood. They heal faster as compared to mosquito bites. When secondary infection develops they might need hydrocortisone cream and antibiotic lotions to reduce infection and inflammation.

Mosquito bites on the other hand are usually larger in size as compared to flea bites and are very itchy along with raised and red surrounding area of the bite. They can occur anywhere on the body including the face, neck, arms legs and other exposed body parts of the person. The reaction to the bite is initially pain and itching on the region that is followed by redness and swelling. Some people might not develop swelling and redness over the mosquito bite. Scratching of the irritated mosquito bite will further worsen the inflammatory process. They will usually heal on their own in three to four days of time. In very rare cases they may persist longer and need over the counter medications to relieve the symptoms. The mosquitoes are mostly attracted to people wearing dark clothes and people who sweat more and produce high amounts of uric acid and ammonia. They breed in swampy areas and are commonly found in warm tropical areas.

Prevention of both the bites is better as they might lead to severe allergic reactions. Flea bites are usually more irritating than the mosquito bites and can lead to many sleepless nights. They are usually found hidden in the mattress and sofas and remain there for a very long time. So, it becomes essential to get rid of them if the problem is to be solved permanently. They are also very small in size and mostly invisible to the naked eye. So, when suspecting a big bite disinfecting the bed and mattress is a better solution than just treating the symptoms; whereas mosquitoes carry various viruses and parasites that can transmit several illnesses and lead to serious complications. They include malaria, dengue, zika virus, yellow fever, encephalitis and meningitis leading to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. A person who is extremely sensitive can also develop anaphylaxis where swelling of the throat and breathlessness might occur as a result of allergic reaction. This is an emergency condition because if not treated immediately it might be fatal. Epinephrine injection is used to reverse the allergic reaction. Scratching of the bite is contraindicated in both the cases as it might aggravate the inflammation and also lead to bruises and wounds over the site. This will further lead to infection and more serious complications.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Flea Bites: Signs and Symptoms. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flea-bites/symptoms-causes/syc-20374107
  2. American Academy of Dermatology Association. (n.d.). Mosquito Bites: Tips to Treat and Prevent. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/itchy-skin/mosquito-bites-treatment-prevent
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Prevent Mosquito Bites. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/prevention/index.html
  4. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. (2021). Anaphylaxis. Retrieved from https://acaai.org/allergies/anaphylaxis
  5. MedicalNewsToday. (2020). Flea Bites Vs. Bed Bug Bites: How to Tell the Difference. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/flea-bites-vs-bed-bug-bites

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 17, 2023

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