Fleas are tiny insects, about the size of the head of a pin.. With their claws they easily hold onto the skin of other animals or even people. These tiny parasites look for warm blood to suck out and feed on.
These insects are so small that their bites are actually microscopic. Even so, the idea can be very unpleasant, and its effects are annoying and even worrying. When you suspect that someone has flea bites, you need to know how to recognize, treat and avoid them.
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Flea bites: everything you need to know to treat them.
A flea attack is something that no one wants to live through because it is very annoying and unpleasant.. In both humans and dogs, the presence of these insects can be very unwelcome. In addition, getting rid of them can also be a pain, as they reproduce easily.
Each flea can lay up to 25 eggs a day for a month. They reproduce exponentially until the situation is uncontrollable, so it is best to avoid or eliminate them as soon as possible. But if a flea bite is already recognized, it should be treated.
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How to know if it is a flea bite?
A flea bite appears as a small pimple with a dot in the center.. They commonly appear on the joints of humans, and are clustered together. They appear to be in a continuous line of three or four bites, and can be very itchy.
This is because fleas bite to suck blood. Once they reach the human’s skin they move to less exposed places or simply attack wherever they have arrived.
Once they have bitten and sucked blood, they make the next small jump and bite again. In this way they form what looks like a continuous line of bites. This bite, although very small, generates an injury to the skin, and so it swells and reddens.
In addition, flea saliva enters the skin at the moment of the bite, which is why it causes so much itching and burning. In sensitive skin this can cause allergic dermatitis.
Sometimes you can see how it jumps after a bite. Small red dots can also be seen on sheets or clothing, very obvious signs that it is one or more fleas.
Once the flea bite has been identified as a flea bite, measures must be taken. These are simple, and are necessary before a larger problem occurs. Although it is not a medical emergency, it is necessary to check that the case is within the expected range.
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What to do in case of a flea bite?
When a flea bite occurs on the skin, you should avoid scratching.. This is the first step in treatment. To try to prevent the bite from becoming complicated in any way, the temptation to scratch should be avoided, especially if it is with dirty hands.
Although it is very itchy or burning, scratching the bites causes further irritation. But the worst thing is that infection can develop because microbes lodge in the nails. In addition, scratching can cause more red-hot skin to be exposed.
It is advisable to wash the area with soap and water, as well as your hands before touching or handling any cream to apply on the bite. The objective is not to provoke an infection that complicates the discomfort of the sting.
After this, it is enough to apply a refreshing or repairing cream that provides relief and freshness to the area. In this way, the burning is not felt so intensely. Calamine lotions or creams are an excellent option.
If the skin has become too red and dermatitis is present, a topical corticosteroid can be applied to the affected area. This is usually more than sufficient to act after a flea bite.
After a day or two, the bites should become less reddish in color and the swelling should subside. If, on the other hand, the appearance is worse, it is very likely that they have become infected. The best thing to do then is to go to the doctor to prescribe the appropriate medication to fight the infection.
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How to prevent flea bites?
To eliminate flea bites, there is no other remedy than to get rid of them.. A first solution is to use repellents, but this does not prevent it completely. Repellents can be used more as a form of prevention if it is known beforehand that there is a possibility of contagion.
An example is if you are near farm animals or other animals that you do not know exactly if they have fleas or not. And be careful with children, do not forget that not all repellents are suitable for children under 2 years of age.
On the other hand, the origin of fleas and their bites can be in the domestic pet. If you are close to the infected animal then what you should do is to get rid of them at the root, since they are also very annoying for the animals.
The type of flea that attacks humans is the same type that is found on dogs, cats and other animals such as rabbits, sheep and other farm animals. Even if fleas do not infect humans, it is best to get rid of them so they do not bother anyone else.
To eliminate fleas from pets, the most effective way is to apply some type of anti-flea pipette, put a collar on them or bathe them with an anti-flea shampoo. Any of these products must be applied correctly and watch out that they do not reappear.
If they have already appeared once, they could have lodged their eggs and sprout again. For this reason it is pertinent to vacuum carpets, armchairs and mattresses and even stuffed animals. Any prevention is too little to try to eliminate fleas definitively.
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Buckland, P.C. y Sadler, J.P. (1989). A biogeography of the human flea, Pulex irritans L. (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae). Journal of Biogeography, 16 (2), 115–120.
James, W.D. y Berger, T.G.; et al. (2006). Andrews’ Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. Saunders Elsevier.
Panagiotakopulu, E. y Buckland, P.C. (2017). A thousand bites – Insect introductions and late Holocene environments, Quaternary Science Reviews, 156, 25–35.