How to Handle Flea Bites
Flea bites can be distressing - due to the itchiness and the psychological impact of having a flea infestation.
Identifying flea bites
Unlike mosquito bites, flea bites tend to remain small and unswollen. They usually look like small, red bumps. Bites on the legs and ankles may indicate fleas, as those are easy places for them to jump to from the floor.
Fleas often bite in clusters, so if you have three or four bites together, especially in a straight line, there’s a chance that they’re caused by fleas. The reason for these clusters is down to the fact that fleas take a while to feed - 12-25 minutes - and may be disturbed during that time. If they’re disturbed, they move a short distance and start feeling again, creating the telltale pattern.
Treating flea bites
Although flea bites can be extremely itchy, scratching them is the worst thing you can do. Scratching causes further damage to the skin and can cause the bites to become infected.
The reason bites itch is down to the chemicals that fleas inject when they bite, which is designed to make it easier for them to take our blood. Our bodies release histamines to counteract the chemicals.
There are two primary ways to tackle the itching:
- Anti-histamines to limit the body’s histamine response, reducing the inflammation that causes the itching
- Anti-itching cream, topical creams, and ointments can help to reduce the sensation of itching
There are other, homemade remedies suggested by a lot of people, including baking soda paste, aloe vera, and tea bags. These are all effective for some people and less so for others, so experiment to see what works for you.
Suggestions of lemon juice and essential oils are a little more tricky. Lemon juice can be painful, while essential oils shouldn’t be put directly on the skin without being diluted, as they can be harmful, so it’s better to stick to tried and tested, safer methods.
Preventing flea bites
The only way to effectively prevent flea bites is to tackle the underlying infestation. Treat your pets and contact a professional pest control company to treat your house - fleas can live for 100 days without a meal, so it can be difficult to get all of them without professional help.
Once your infestation has gone, keep on top of preventative treatments for pets and be vigilant - a small infestation is easier to eradicate than an established one.