Fleas were once considered pet-specific parasites but that has changed. In absence of pets like cats and dogs, fleas can and will infest human beings as well. Fleas in human hair are especially a cause of concern as it can be a big nuisance. Getting fleas out of thick human hair can be an arduous task, which is magnified tenfold when these critters are present in larger numbers.
How do you know if you have fleas in your hair?
Fleas found in human hair can lead to the following symptoms:
- Some people do not experience any allergic reactions after a flea has bitten them; this is simply because they have become immune to flea bites.
- On other human victims, fleas tend to hide in the hair and bite the host’s scalp or neck. This could lead to intense itching.
- On the areas where the fleas have bitten the human skin, red welts and bumps could appear. These usually last for about 2-3 days and can be very itchy. Scratching the bites could cause pus-filled blisters which are harder to treat.
Later in this post, I will mention some remedies that can help get rid of fleas in your hair and on your body.
Why do you have fleas living in your hair?
Human blood does not provide fleas with optimal nutrition, but that will not stop them from biting you. In absence of pets or domestic animals, fleas can and will live off human skin. In fact, discarded skin cells are ideal food for flea larvae while they are molting and progressing from one life cycle stage to another.
Should you be concerned if you are bitten?
Fleas can spread deadly diseases in humans, especially if they have bitten rats. In fact; during the 14th century Europe, fleas were responsible for what became known as the Black Death. When fleas feed on infected rats and then bite humans, the disease can be transmitted to the new hosts. During the Black Death, rats quickly died off and fleas then looked for other hosts including cats, dogs and humans.
Today, what you have to look out for is allergic reactions from the bites and the skin infections you can get if you scratch the bitten area excessively. Flea bites usually do not have a serious impact on a persons physical health, but they have been known to cause psychological implications.
Home remedies to get rid of fleas in human hair
It is very important to eradicate fleas from the hair, otherwise they will simply multiply and continue biting. Here is how you get rid of them:
- A paste made of baking soda and water is an effective remedy to get rid of fleas in the hair. Spray your hair using this paste, ensuring that it remains in the hair for at least 10 minutes. Then rinse off as usual with warm water, no shampoo needed.
- Some shampoos made specifically for lice and hair-mites can also help get rid of fleas in human hair. Apply the shampoo all over the hair and scalp and leave it there for at least 10 minutes. Then wash off as usual using warm water. Comb the hair (using a fine toothed comb) thoroughly to remove dead fleas and eggs.
- Tea tree oil based shampoos are also very effective for killing fleas in hair. The oil is anti-parasitic and anti-microbial in nature which can kill fleas and their eggs.
- Many flea sufferers have also seen good results by using lemon scented dish soap for washing their hair. Also, many pet owners swear by this remedy for bathing their pets when they are infested with fleas.
- Apple cider vinegar is another useful remedy for treating hair with fleas in it. Apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature and this property helps destroy the flea eggs and also makes the hair and scalp acidic and harmful for fleas to live in. You can add some apple cider vinegar to warm water and scrub the solution all over your scalp and hair. Apply a shower cap to ensure that the vinegar does its job. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes and then wash off as usual.
These remedies are all very useful for getting rid of fleas, larvae and eggs in human hair.
Treating the environment for fleas
Naturally, your hair, skin or pets are not safe if you do not treat your environment for fleas. Failure to do so will simply make the infestation recur and all your efforts will be wasted. Here are some steps to treat your home and surroundings for fleas:
- If you have pets you must get them treated for fleas using vet approved flea products such as shampoos, sprays, powders etc. Remember to retreat your pets, preferably with monthly flea drops.
- Wash or discard all pet bedding as well as other household linen in very hot water to get rid of flea eggs and larvae. If you choose to launder clothes, use bleach or detergent.
- Vacuum the house thoroughly. You can also use some organic food grade diatomaceous earth powder or Borax powder all over the carpet, as well as behind and underneath the furniture etc. Leave the powders on the floor/carpets for a few hours, and then vacuum as usual. Both powders kill fleas by ripping their exoskeletons. You can also add a flea collar to the vacuum bag or spray the bag’s insides with flea sprays or powders. This will ensure killing the trapped fleas. Immediately discard the vacuum bag afterwards.
- Wash floors with hot water and floor cleaner.
- Seal off any holes and use traps to catch rodents like rats and mice.
- In case of very large and uncontrollable infestations, you should call a professional pest control company. They have more experience in eliminating fleas and can do a more thorough job compared to DIY approaches alone.
Remember: you must eliminate fleas from every nook and corner of your home, otherwise the remaining eggs will hatch and you will have new fleas to deal with. Fleas in human hair is a condition which should be taken seriously and must not be ignored, so take action as soon as you spot them.
Got fleas? Find out which products work in 2019, with my updated flea control product comparison chart.