Sand flea bites usually show up as small, red welts or bumps on the skin, and most commonly occur on the lower legs, feet and ankles of humans and animals. In addition to the welts, the bites can cause severe itching, swelling, and sometimes pain in the affected area. These can normally be treated with over-the-counter medications like oral ibuprofen, to help reduce the swelling and pain, and oral antihistamines to help reduce the itching. One can also use various medicated topical treatments directly on the affected area, such as ibuprofen gel, hydrocortisone cream, or various anti-itch creams. It is important to avoid scratching sand flea bites, since this can lead to infection, and if the pain and itching do not begin to improve after several days, one should consult a doctor.
Anti-itch creams and gels containing ingredients that reduce pain, such as lidocaine, can be helpful when treating sand flea bites. In addition to such over-the-counter medications, there are also many natural remedies that can relieve symptoms. For example, an oatmeal soak, where the affected area is submerged in warm water mixed with oatmeal, can help soothe the itching. Applying aloe vera gel, vinegar, or a paste made of water and baking soda to the affected area can also help ease the discomfort. Other natural treatments involve the application of various essential oils such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, and lavender oil to the bites.
Different types of creatures can be referred to as sand fleas. For example, certain species of biting flies are sometimes called sand fleas. These insects infest certain beaches around the world, including in the United States, Australia and the Caribbean. They can carry disease and transmit viruses. It is recommended to use insect repellent when frequenting areas where these insects are common.
Another type of creature called sand flea is a species of tiny crustacean that lives in the sand or decaying seaweed on beaches. Children can be more likely to be bitten by these sand fleas when they play and dig in the sand. Sand flea bites on a human or pet can also be caused by a species of flea with the scientific name Tunga penetrans, commonly known as chigoe or sand flea. This skin parasite burrows into the skin to lay its eggs. It usually causes more severe problems for animals, and the recommended treatment of these types bites on a pet includes flea treatments such as flea powders and shampoos.