Fleas are small, wingless and annoying creatures equipped with specialized mouthparts that they use for sucking blood from their hosts. Not only do they bite animals like cats, dogs and other domesticated animals; in absence of these primary hosts, they might even bite humans. Fleas can also be present even without pets. Many people have encountered fleas in their new residences, simply because the previous owner had an infestation. Additionally, fleas are also capable of jumping large distances; so they can enter into homes from neighbors who have them. Hence, flea bites on humans are a common occurrence that often needs to be treated with the right medicine.
Before we discuss the correct medicine for flea bites, let us understand the epidemiology of fleas.
Humans and flea epidemiology
There are several species of fleas found across the world. They are proven vectors of many diseases such as Murine typhus and plague. They can also be intermediate hosts of dog and rodent tapeworms. Unlike other common species of fleas like dog and cat fleas, the Chigoe flea (which is known as the Tunga Penetrans) is actually known to invade human skin. The female of this species lays eggs in burrows made on the human skin, typically under the toenails. This variety of species is mainly seen in tropical and subtropical regions of the United States.
Clinical Symptoms of flea bites on humans
On humans, flea bites can lead to lesions that are itchy, swollen, painful and red. Scratching these bite sites can lead to pruritis as well as other bacterial infections. The degree of pain, itching and redness caused by flea bites varies from person to person mainly depending upon their sensitivity.
If flea bites are annoying you, it is essential that you use the right medicine for flea bites in order to prevent potential skin infections.
Let us discuss the commonly used medicine for flea bites.
Medicine for flea bites
Before applying the medicine for flea bites, it is essential to wash the bite site. This will prevent the infection from spreading and also reducing itchiness and swelling.
- If you do not have any of the medicine for flea bites mentioned here, do apply some ice to the bitten region. Ice or other cold packs can reduce inflammation of the skin.
- One of the most effective medicines for flea bites is Calamine lotion. Apply this generously all over the skin where the red wheals or bumps of flea bites are present.
- Another all-natural medicine for flea bites is Aloe Vera gel. Simply break open a leaf of the plant and apply the sticky gel directly on the bitten region of the skin.
- You can ask your pharmacist to recommend an over-the-counter oral or topical anti histamine medicine for flea bites. These can give you immediate relief from hives that result in case of sensitive people.
- Over-the-counter corticosteroid medicine for flea bites is another effective remedy.
- Fleas are known to transmit tapeworms in humans and pets. If you suspect that is the case, it is important to seek medical help immediately.
- If the flea bites are very itchy and there is no relief despite using the aforementioned medicine for flea bites, make sure you visit your doctor. Likewise, if you have pus-filled blisters or oozing open wounds accompanied by a fever, then medical attention is a must.
Apart from using the right medicine for flea bites, it is also important to treat the home as well as the pets for fleas. Failure to do so will lead to repeated flea bites and render the medicine for flea bites useless. If you think you have fleas in your home, you may want to learn how to spot if your pets have fleas.