When do fleas bite people?
Fleas are blood-sucking insects that live on humans – but prefer dogs, cats and other animals with fur. These insects have no wings so they are not able to fly, but they can easily jump from a carpet or a couch to your legs.
It is typically seen that owners of pets are not bothered by fleas and flea bites until their pets are away for an extended period. This is because the fleas will have to find new hosts when the pet is no longer present. This is when they start biting people.
Flea bites usually occur around the waist, ankles, armpits and the inside of the elbow (where it bends together).
Symptoms of flea bites
The following are typical symptoms of flea bites:
- Small, red swellings around the flea bite
- Itching at the bite area (local)
- General itching (all over the body)
- Rash with small bumps that might bleed slightly
- The rash typically occurs in the armpit or the folding of a joint (elbow, knee or ankle)
- The rash spreads, so larger parts of the skin are affected – the rash can also spread to other parts of the body
- Pressing the rash, it becomes white (the original color returns when the pressure is removed)
- Skin folds under the breast or in the groin may be struck by bites
The symptoms of flea bites typically occur quickly and suddenly (within a few hours after the bite).
The goal of treatment of flea bites is to eliminate fleas from the home, animals, humans and all relevant places outdoors. This can be done using insecticide.
When flea bites on humans occur, the best remedy for the symptoms that arise are medications (typically creams) containing approx. 1% hydrocortisone. They are available as over the counter products.
Advice on using flea control products
- When spraying with flea agent outdoors, be sure to protect birds and fish
- Collars for pets are unfortunately not always powerful enough, try topical treatment instead
- If treatment does not work, contact a professional flea exterminator
- Remember, getting rid of fleas and flea bites can take a long time and require repeated and persistent efforts, especially if you have several pets.
Flea treatment in the home
When fleas move into a home, it may be easy to get rid of them at first, but in just one week, they could have invaded the entire home. They sit and wait in the couch, where they bite you during the day – and in bed, where they bite you at night.
Here are instructions on getting rid of fleas at home:
- Check your pets for fleas and flea bites: Use a comb. It’s hard to find them by simply running your hands over the animals’ fur. The comb picks up fleas, and then you dip it in a bucket of soapy water to drown them. Alternatively, you can use a chemical agent. A third option is to leave your pets at an animal doctor that can remove all the fleas for you.
- Vacuuming kills the fleas: Vacuum floors, carpets, sofas, beds and concentrate especially on the areas where your pet sleeps or generally spends the most time. Also think about where it is most likely that your pets carry the insects into the house (the hallway, utility room, etc.). Seal and toss vacuum cleaner bags out immediately. If you use a bagless vacuum cleaner, remember to empty and clean it.
- Wash the floor with soap and water: Scrub all carpets with flea agent. Be sure to clean under all furniture. Wash all bedding in hot water and wash all laundry – and hang all the laundry outside to dry or dry it using a dryer. Alternatively, clothing, bedding and carpets can be cleaned professionally at a dry cleaner.
- Use only products in spray form if the previous steps did not work: There are products that can be sprayed manually, but also products that works automatically by spraying insecticide into the room over a period of time (the same way a humidifier works). When using flea treatment products, you and your pets should stay away from your home until it is safe to enter again. It is also important to always ventilate the house after applying flea agent.