What is a Flea bite? - Answer: Skin piercing lesions left by fleas. They often leave a red, raised bump on the host which can be itchy and uncomfortable - sometimes grouped in one particular area. On humans, it is common to get bitten around the ankles and legs as well as under the hair, however for pet dogs and cats they can be all over the body.
Not all bites are usually that painful, however the area may become sore afterwards. The reaction differs per person but you could develop rashes if itís severe and causing you to itch. A way to distinguish flea bites from other insect bites is there will be a single piercing (as opposed to two) for each mark. However, this isn't always easy to see. The picture below shows a severe reaction have been bitten multiple times on the ankle. This picture was taken in the early stages after the biting took place. They were from sand fleas - which were under the sand in the heat of the day - like many do, both feet were dug into the sand on the beach and one foot was unfortunately embedded in an area infested with fleas. Although the picture does make it look painful, other than the marking, raised skin and a very slight itch there was no pain at all - until the bites turned into blisters and then made it uncomfortable to wear socks or shoes. Pictures of the type of flea that was found in the sand can be found on our sand flea page.
If you have been bitten by a flea in your home then you should check your house for any infestations. These can be started by your house pets or brought in from outside the house by family members. Once you have found any infestation you will need to have it remedied by completely cleaning the area, so seek the appropriate insecticide and advice.
What flea bites look like:
How to Treat Flea Bites - Flea bites on humans can be treated with a range of creams, including calamine and antihistamines. Consult your local pharmacy for the most appropriate treatment or visit your local A&E. For the treatment of the picture above, a trip to the local walk-in centre was advised and it was treated with iodine to dry the area and then it was advised to keep the area covered and clean until the swelling went down. The scarring did not fade for months and skin discoloration was still visible 4-5 months afterwards! If your cat or dog has parasites, it is advised that you target the pests in two stages (of their life cycle), so you eradicate both the adults and any new eggs. There are numerous products to assist you online but you may prefer to see your vet. You will need to remember to treat any area where the fleas may have taken up residence, so a thorough clean of the entire house may be beneficial.
Flea Bites on Humans
Prevent Flea Bites - Being bitten is not just an irritation for humans and house pets, they can also lead to medical troubles including tapeworms, dermatitis and typhus. As these tiny parasites are able to spread disease from one person to another and also from animals (house pets, rats, squirrels, mice) to humans, as well as the bubonic plague (!) you will want to have them exterminated at the earliest opportunity. The diagram below shows flea bits - and clearly defines how they can be identified.