Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of both mammals and birds. At a length of 1/12″ to 1/8″ long, fleas can be hard to see and therefore difficult to realize you have an infestation until it’s already there. Fleas are wingless, oval, flat and dark reddish-brown in color. They have 6 long legs and can jump up to 200 times their body length. The most common species of flea in the United States is the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) which, ironically, can also be found on dogs!
Flea bites on humans appear as small red spots that usually occur in groups or clusters of 2 or 3 with redness surrounding them. Other symptoms include itching, hives, rash, and swelling around the site of the bite. Fleas commonly bite around the feet, ankles, and lower legs, although they can bite other places, as well. Those who have allergies to fleas can also experience shortness of breath, wheezing, swelling of the lips and tongue, dizziness, nausea, and chest pain. Scratching flea bites can also leave open wounds, allowing bacteria to invade causing infections.
One question that many ask is are fleas dangerous to humans. The answer is yes. Fleas are known to transmit several serious diseases including plague, bartonellosis, typhus, tungiasis, and flea tapeworm.
Flea bites can be itchy, painful, and downright aggravating. If you fall victim to a flea invasion, consider these natural do-it-yourself remedies for flea bites.
Wrap ice packs or even frozen vegetables in a towel and apply to the skin. This helps soothe irritated skin, relieve swelling, and numb the area where the bites are.
While people commonly think of aloe vera as a treatment for sunburn, it can also be used to ease redness and swelling and soothe itching associated with flea bites. Cut a leaf or stalk from your aloe plant horizontally and remove the gel. Apply to the affected area and allow your skin to absorb. This can be repeated several times a day as needed.
The astringent properties of witch hazel make it an effective remedy against flea bites. Apply witch hazel to affected areas to help reduce itchiness and redness as needed throughout the day.
Rubbing alcohol helps dry out flea bites, helping cut down on itching and irritation. Mix a small amount of rubbing alcohol with water and apply it to the bites with a cotton ball.
Vinegar is known to cut down on itching and irritation caused by flea bites. Mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water and apply with a cotton ball for temporary relief.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that make it a great remedy for itching from flea bites. Make sure when using tea tree oil as a treatment that you dilute it with a carrier oil to avoid further irritation.
Used tea bags are a great way to relieve inflammation from flea bites thanks to its astringent properties. Once you have brewed your tea, place the leftover tea bags in the freezer to cool them. Apply to the affected areas and cover with a bandage. This can be repeated several times a day and any variety of tea can be used.
Lemon is similar to vinegar in its treatment properties. Apply lemon juice with a cotton ball for fast relief from flea bites.
Honey has been used since ancient times for a variety of ailments. Honey has antimicrobial properties that help sooth the skin. Apply honey to the affected area and let it sit for 15 mins. Rinse with warm water and repeat as needed.
Basil can be used to sooth irritation and itching. Wash a couple of leaves from a basil plant and mash them with a little bit of water. Make a paste and apply it to the affected area. Leave this on for at least 15 minutes or until the paste reaches room temperature.
Coconut can be used to relieve rashes from flea bites. Place coconut pulp in the blender with a little bit of water and mix them to form a cream. Apply the cream to the bite areas and wrap with a bandage. Leave for about an hour and then rinse. This can be done twice per day.
Oatmeal and oat flakes are long known to help soothe itching skin and rashes and are found in a variety of products including lotion, body wash, and shampoo. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of oatmeal in a bowl with warm water and soak your feet or lower legs in the mixture for 15 minutes.
Baking soda can also be used to relieve symptoms of flea bites. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water and mix well to form a paste. Apply the paste to affected areas and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water and repeat as necessary.
Once fleas get into your home they can be challenging to get rid of. If you suspect you have a problem with fleas, contact your local pest control company for an evaluation and treatment plan.