Sep102013

"Flea Bites"

What Do Flea Bites Look Like on Humans?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Flea bites result in red spots surrounded by reddened haloes. They are extremely itchy and cause great discomfort. Fleas often target the legs and feet of human victims and may infest the entire bodies of domestic house pets.  Many wildlife species carry fleas as well.  If these animals are associated around ones home, fleas may migrate to pets and humans.  Flea saliva can cause allergic reactions such as FAD in some pets and increased scratching can result in hair loss and secondary infections. In more severe cases, affected skin thickens and sores appear.

Flea Bites Treatment

You should be sure to consult a veterinarian before beginning any treatment of your pet’s flea bites. Bathing your pet with specially-formulated shampoos can prevent secondary infections. Cold water alleviates inflammation, while warm or hot water exacerbates itching. Fresh aloe vera juice can soothe skin and a diet rich in fatty acids such as flax seed may have an anti-inflammatory effect.

If these treatments fail, your veterinarian may request to see your pet to determine next steps. Steroid creams and antihistamines are available by prescription and may help to alleviate your pet’s symptoms.

If you are the victim of a flea bite, wash the bite and then use an antiseptic and apply an icepack. You should resist the urge to scratch. Calamine lotions can be used to treat the itch, or a pharmacist can be consulted for details about antihistamines which may prove effective. Should your bite wounds excrete puss, contact your doctor immediately.

How and Why Fleas Bite

flea-1Fleas are parasites that have to suck the blood of warm-blooded animals to survive. The adult female fleas also need blood to reproduce. In fact, they need food two to three times a day, but they only need to mate once in a lifetime, to be able to reproduce. So flea bites are serious business, they bite because they need to survive.

Evolution has shown that fleas have evolved to be able to store 15 times more blood than their own weight. They have a lot of short spikes on their legs, allowing them to stick very firmly to the host. Once they have penetrated the skin they inject saliva. The saliva contains more than 15 different substances that can cause severe allergic reactions. Especially dogs are at risk of developing flea allergy.

 

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