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How Do I Treat Human Flea Bites?

A flea.
An ice pack can cool the irritation of a flea bite.
Oral antihistamines can help reduce swelling caused by human flea bites.
Article Details
  • Written By: Amanda Barnhart
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Fleas are often brought into the home on pets or visitors who have been in a flea-infested area. Once a home is infested with fleas, the bugs can live in carpets, upholstery, and other soft areas, causing them to jump onto the humans in the home and bite. Human flea bites swell and itch for several days after the bite. Treating human flea bites involves keeping the area clean and reducing swelling and itchiness so that the bites can heal.

Keeping the area around the bite clean is the most important part of treating human flea bites. Scratching the area can create an open wound that exposes the bite to bacteria and increases the risk of infection. Washing the area with cool water and an antibacterial soap after being bitten is extremely important. The bite should be washed at least twice a day until it heals, or more often if it has been scratched open. Placing an adhesive bandage over the bite while it heals can help keep it protected and discourage scratching.

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Applying an ice pack over the bite helps reduce swelling and minimizes itching. Ice packs can be used several times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Avoiding hot showers and washing with warm water also helps prevent excessive itching. Oral antihistamines help reduce swelling and can help combat even extreme itchiness, but they should be used with caution if the person bitten is a child or infant since some antihistamines are not safe for children.

Topical products can help stop itching while human flea bites heal. Hydrocortisone creams can be purchased over-the-counter and can be applied to the affected area several times a day to stop itching. Calamine lotion is a milder topical product that stops itching and dries in a protective coating over the bite. This is helpful if the bite has been scratched open, though calamine lotion should only be applied once the open wound has been cleaned.

Most human flea bites can be treated at home and will go away on their own after several days. People who develop a rash, fever, or body aches should see a doctor because these symptoms can indicate a disease called murine typhus that can be contracted from fleas. Murine typhus symptoms usually appear five or six days after the initial bite, but they may take as long as 14 or 15 days to manifest.

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Discuss this Article

umbra21
Post 3

Make sure that it is flea bites and not some other kind of bite before you go about trying to get rid of the pests. If you're actually dealing with something like bedbugs or mosquitoes you will need to have a different plan of attack.

Fleas are actually one of the better pests to have. The bites don't last long and they are fairly easy to exterminate. Bedbugs are much more troublesome.

irontoenail
Post 2

@Fa5t3r - A really good home remedy for preventing flea bites is just plain mint leaves. It's what I use if there is a flea breakout and I don't have time to go to the pet store and get some carpet cleaner. Just basically rub them on your skin and strew them in your bed and you'll be fine overnight until you can find a more permanent solution.

Although the best thing to do is to try and make sure you use flea control on your pets regularly so that fleas never have a chance to get into the house. If you use that stuff that makes it so that any flea biting your pets will die, you won't have to worry about doing anything else.

Fa5t3r
Post 1

We had several cats and a dog when I was a kid and we always seemed to have fleas in the carpet. It drove me crazy. But it was also kind of embarrassing, so I never really complained about it. I wish I had spoken up about it more or tried to do something about it.

I used to have quite a few bites on my ankles and it can't have been very comfortable for my siblings either. I just don't think our parents noticed because they were hardly ever home and the pets didn't really go into their rooms.

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