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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.
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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