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Fleabites: Symptoms, Identification, Treatment

About Fleabites

Fleas are common insects which are extremely small. They cannot fly but have legs that are big enough to make it easier for them to jump. Fleas thrive in beddings, curtains, and carpets. Once in contact with a human or an animal they tend to bite and cause a variety of symptoms. A fleabite is extremely itchy and painful. Pets are the most common mode of transmission of fleas in humans.[1]

However, it is only pet owners that are at risk of fleabites. Fleas can enter homes through fabric and can spread very quickly. In no time, they become a nuisance for home owners. Fleas feed on the blood of humans and animals. Since fleas can survive on any hosts it is quite easy for them to get transferred from one host to another. Fleas are known to transfer plague from rats to humans. There are basically three types of fleas, namely cat flea, dog flea, and human flea.[1]

How To Know If You Have Fleabites?

How To Know If You Have Fleabites?

The best hosts for fleas are animals rather than humans. Fleas feed on human blood only when they do not find any animal as hosts. This happens when an adult or a child passes by a flea and it attaches to the body of the human. The feet, ankles, and legs are the most common areas where fleabite occurs. If proper treatment is not given then fleabites spreads very quickly to other parts of the body. The spread is faster in people who have dense hairs in their body.[2]

The fleabite itself is very small with a small red spot which may be solitary or multiple. There will then be a scab formed around the area of the bite. There are many fleabites that do not cause any reactions and hence many a times these bites go unnoticed.[2]

What are the Symptoms of Fleabites?

What are the Symptoms of Fleabites?

A fleabite hardly causes any noticeable symptoms. However, if someone is allergic to fleabites then they may have a bad reaction to a Fleabite. This is seen mostly in children. The primary symptom of a fleabite is severe sensation of itching and the skin becomes irritated. The affected area will also be quite painful. At times, there may also be rashes that develop around the site of the fleabite. The symptoms tend to worsen if the person scratches the area and may also cause the area to get infected. Aside from this, there are no major symptoms that are caused by fleabites.[2]

However, at times certain complications can occur due to fleabites. In fact, there are two primary complications that occur, namely allergic reactions and secondary infections. In cases of an allergic reaction, the individual will have problems breathing along with nausea. There will also be swelling of the lips and face. If these symptoms occur then it is best to go to the emergency room immediately.[2]

In case if a fleabite gets infected then the pain around the site of the bite will be extremely painful and excessively erythematous. The patient will also have swelling of the glands. If this occurs then again a consultation with a physician is recommended. Some fleas carry diseases with them. If such fleas bite humans, it leads to various diseases like spotted fever, plague, and cat scratch fever.[2]

How Are Fleabites Treated?

Fleabites can both be treated with medications as well as variety of home remedies. The common home remedies for fleabites include calamine lotion to control the itching sensation, tea tree oil, vinegar, and cortisone creams. For allergic reactions due to fleabites, antihistamine medications can be taken to control the symptoms. It is important to prevent any secondary infections as a result of fleabites. This can be best done by avoiding any scratching of the area. In most cases, no further treatment is required and the condition resolves in a few days.[2]

It is extremely important to prevent infestation of fleas in the home environment. This is because fleas can survive for about 100 days without any host. Some of the best practices to get the homes and pets rid of any fleas include treating pets with vet recommended anti-flea medications. All the dust collected in the dust bag of a vacuum cleaner should be discarded immediately. It is important to clean the furniture and floors regularly. All these practices will prevent any fleas from infesting the home and cause problems.[2]

In conclusion, fleabite is a benign condition and rarely causes any symptoms. Only if an individual is allergic will there be any symptoms caused due to fleabites. Majority of the times, fleas enter the home through pets. However, they can also come through fabric and clothing. Since most fleas thrive in animal hosts, they pose a threat to the pets rather than their human owners. It is important to keep the house clean and free of any dirt to prevent any fleas from infesting the home and cause problems due to fleabites.[1,2]


Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 8, 2020

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