Identification and understanding of differences between flea bites vs mosquito bites is essential so that steps can be taken for their prevention.
The common factor between flea bites vs mosquito bites is that both are extremely annoying, irritating and itchy. Scratching either type of bites can also lead to secondary infections in some people. These are harder to treat and may require topical hydrocortisone, anti histamines and/ or antibacterial medications for resolution.
Flea bites: Signs and Symptoms
Flea bites can occur even in absence of pets. There are many types of flea subspecies and not all require a pet as a host. Human fleas known as Pulex irritans are one of the six species of the flea genus.
Fleas are capable of jumping up to great heights to reach their host. The most common types of fleas, namely cat and dog fleas are known to bite humans in absence of their primary hosts.
Here are the symptoms and signs of flea bites on humans:
- Flea bites occur in the form of wheals or papules. These are distinct with a central hemorrhagic area where the flea has inserted its piercing mouth parts to obtain the blood. This region is called purpura pulicosa. In some cases, blisters can result from flea bites.
- In children and allergic individuals, sub-epidermal blisters are also likely. Often, these may not be due to actual bite; rather they result from an allergic reaction to the bite.
- Typically, flea bites are seen on legs, feet and other exposed body parts accessible to fleas.
- Sand fleas, are known to bite under toenails, on the feet and even the genitalia. These bites are painful and often swollen. Immuno-compromised individuals are at a greater risk from resulting skin infections.
- Rat and rodent fleas are vectors of deadly diseases such as murine typhus and plague.
Mosquito bites: Signs and symptoms
Mosquitoes are vectors of many diseases. Only the female mosquito requires a blood meal to lay eggs, while males prefer plant products. There are thousands of species of the mosquito family worldwide.
Here are signs and symptoms of mosquito bites on humans:
- Mosquito bites are multiple pruritic(i.e. accompanied by swelling, itching and redness).
- They may also be bullous (i.e. having blisters/bulae (fluid filled)).
- The bites have a surrounding, raised and red area .
- They are not only seen on arms and legs, but also on face, back and other exposed body parts.
Summary of flea bites vs mosquito bites
As stated above, a point of similarity between flea bites vs mosquito bites is that both typically occur on the shins. Both types of bites are extremely irritating and itchy and scratching them can lead to secondary infections. Here is a table showing the comparison between flea bites vs mosquito bites:
|Flea Bites||Mosquito Bites|
|Flea bites usually occur in a pattern, group or clusters. They are smaller than mosquito bites.||These are isolated; typically in the form of a single bump characterized by redness and itching. They are larger than flea bites|
|Occur on lower parts of the body-feet, legs etc. They are most profuse around the ankles. However, clusters of bites on other body parts are also possible in case of major infestations||Occur on all exposed areas of the body, including face, arms and legs, back, torso|
|In many people, there is no reaction unless sensitive to protein in saliva of the flea||There is pain and itching immediately after the bite. Following a bite, there may or may not be a swelling and redness.|
|Repeated bites leads to sensitivity||Repeated bites can lead to firm and pruritic papules|
|Irritation and inflammation are common symptoms of flea bites.||Irritation and inflammation are also a common reaction to mosquito bites and Scratching worsens the symptoms.|
|Flea bites heal quicker than mosquito bites, depending on individual cases. Secondary infections may need topical steroidal creams or antibiotics for treatment.||Mosquito bites take about 3-4 days to heal. In extreme cases, they may require antibiotic medications for treating/preventing bacterial infections which take longer to heal.|
|Flea bites can occur any time of the day or night||Mosquito bites typically occur at night or after sunset or when the host is asleep.|
|Flea bites can occur throughout the year and in any place. They are more common during summer months.||Typically seen in swampy, tropical areas in summers or warmer seasons.|
|Most Flea species have no preference of hosts and make do with any warm blooded mammals.||Mosquitoes are typically are attracted to victims wearing dark colored clothing as well as to a combination of odors like sweat, perfumes and so on.|