Image via flickr by Pommiebastards
When fleas have invaded your home or yard, anyone coming in contact with the flea-infested area will be prone to multiple flea bites. When this occurs, it is essential to know how to treat flea bites to relieve the itching, scratching, and potential damage to the skin.
Fleas are tiny insects that are wingless, dark brown, and have exceptional jumping abilities for their size. Fleas are parasitic, with a propensity to feed on blood provided by humans, other mammals, and birds.
An adult flea measures between 1/12 to 1/8 inches long and has a tubular body style with six legs and no wings. The Ctenocephalides felis, also known as the cat flea, is the most common in America. Although called the cat flea, it also bites dogs and humans. There are an estimated 2,500 flea species worldwide.
Flea bites present themselves as a small, red, swollen patch, usually in a cluster of two or three. The patches are extremely itchy. The bites may be on the arms feet and legs, around the waistline, and the neck. For some individuals, a flea bite may lead to developing hives or rash, or an allergic reaction, which has symptoms such as nausea, swelling of the lips, dizziness, shortness of breath, and chest pain. If flea bites are not treated, they can become infected due to excessive scratching that breaks and irritates the skin.
Treating flea bites for yourself can be done in several ways. The first step is to avoid scratching the affected area or areas; this is easier said than done because of flea bites itch.
A couple of helpful tips include using an antiseptic soap to clean the bites, which can help with potential infections, and applying an icepack to help reduce and relieve swelling.
One of the standard tips for treating flea bites is to use an over-the-counter cream formulated to address itching. Calamine lotion is also an option to treat the itching. You may want to invest in an antihistamine medication, which helps reduce the itching and can improve with any allergic reactions. For severe situations or infections, contact your physician.
When children or infants are bitten, they will experience the same discomfort and itchiness generated by biting fleas. The bites may present themselves as small red swollen bumps that could form a blister.
Clean the area using mild soap and warm water. To prevent scratching that may result in infection, clip your child’s fingernails. Contact your pediatrician to find out what treatments, creams, or medications are suitable for your child.
Your pet friends will be just as miserable as you when fleas bite them. The continuous itching and scratching are not only annoying to the pet but can pose health problems.
With continuous scratching, your pet may eventually scratch, chew, or gnaw so much they end up with patches of missing fur. Continued scratching can result in broken skin that allows bacteria to enter and results in an infection.
Consult with your veterinarian about the type and strength of a flea treatment product that fits your pet’s size and temperament. It’s also important to bathe dogs with anti-flea shampoo to dispose of any fleas before applying flea medications.
Medications formulated for flea control are available in several forms, including solutions applied to specific areas of the pet’s body, powders that are blended into their fur, and tablets that are given orally or placed in their food. It’s also essential to have your pet checked for tapeworms, which can be transmitted to your pet via a flea bite.
The process of removing fleas naturally from your home begins with a few essential steps. If you have pets, remove their bedding, wash it immediately, or throw it away and replace it with new items.
To remove fleas embedded in carpets, vacuum thoroughly in every room. When finished, throw the bag away, if applicable, or empty the canister into a garbage bag, seal it immediately, and throw it away. You don’t want to leave live fleas any opportunity to get back inside the home.
It’s also a good idea to remove bedding and wash it in the hottest water possible to kill any fleas that may be hiding in the sheets, bedspreads, or quilts. If you have any furniture throws, these should be washed as well.
You have two options to treat the home. First, you can use an over-the-counter flea spray and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Second, you can use flea bombs. These require you, your family, and your pets to be out of the house. Follow instructions carefully when using either product.
The outside area also needs to be treated, especially if you have pets. Even if you don’t have a pet, other animals, such as squirrels, carry fleas. Follow the instructions to apply the product safely.
Since flea eggs are sturdy, they have a longer survival life, which means you’ll need to repeat the procedure at least once; more if necessary. Stick to a flea maintenance plan with frequent vacuuming and keeping pets protected.
When fleas have infested your home, contact a licensed pest control service for an evaluation. Pest control technicians are experts in the field of flea prevention. They have the knowledge and the experience necessary to handle the types of products needed to stop a flea infestation. Once the home has been assessed, the technician will plan a course of action determined by the extent and source contributing to the infestation.
While vacuuming and treating pets is a good start in flea maintenance, a professional service offers on-going preventive maintenance, a variety of services, and a guarantee of their work to keep your property flea free.