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Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Title: Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Category: Diseases and Conditions
Created: 1/8/2001 12:00:00 AM
Last Editorial Review: 5/11/2017 12:00:00 AM

Itching
Title: Itching
Category: Symptoms and Signs
Created: 2/26/2004 12:00:00 AM
Last Editorial Review: 5/4/2017 12:00:00 AM



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Take a Drink and Flea the Scene: The Scoop on Flea Bites

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Flea bites are a common complaint of dog and cat lovers especially when they jump from the animal onto a human host. Fleas have three separate mouthparts. They inject saliva into their host. They will then have a blood meal and flea the scene, often time unnoticed by they unsuspecting human host. Fleas are non host specific and will jump from host to host for a blood meal.

Fleas bites are characterized by tiny red blotches which are extremely itchy. Fleas bites generally form a line of three bites which helps to distinguish a flea bite from other insect bites. Fleas are so tiny that they appear to the naked eye as tiny black specks. The larvae of the flea resemble a grain of sand. Flea larvae is sensitive to light and therefore are found embedded into the deep fibers of carpets.

Flea bites appear on areas of the human body found closest to the ground; feet, ankles and calves. Another reason why flea bites are most commonly found on the feet and ankles is that these insects bite areas that are exposed. In the summer people tend to wear sandals and other open shoes. Normally socks are not worn with these types of shoes. Fleas will invade beds and mattresses and normally people do not wear socks to bed. However these insects can jump as high as thirteen inches which is an incredible 200 times their actual size. Therefore fleas can jump off their animal hosts or from the floors and carpets of your home and can bite any exposed area of the human body.

Fleas require warm temperatures to survive. Fleas found in colder climates such as Canada and the northern United States are seasonal in nature. The flea season far these climates is from March to October. Unfortunately, flea season is year round for warmer climates. Fleas also strive in damp climates.

Flea bites itch and cause swelling. Sensitive individuals may contract hive-like rashes. Secondary infection can occur due to intense scratching. When flea bites become infected they will fill with fluid. Scratching can also break down skin cells and cause burning. Intense scratching sometimes cause the bite wound to bleed, afterwards a scab will form.

The best cure for flea bites is prevention. Make sure your dogs and cats have flea collars and treat their infestation before the fleas come after you. There are flea powders and flea baths and medication such as frontline to clear up your pet’s problem. A dehumidifier set at 50 will take enough humidity out of your home to sufficiently prevent the breeding of fleas.

Once you have a flea infestation the best way to rid the infestation is to get rid of the fleas. Make sure to clean all surfaces of your home, bedding, clothing, floors, carpets, etc. Empty vacuum cleaner bags after every use (the fleas will live inside). Spray floors, surfaces and bedding, clothing and furniture with a solution of pyrethrin.

Flea bites will normally disappear on their own, but in the case of severe reactions take one or two Benadryl capsules every six hours. You may also require a topical hydrocortisone cream and medication for open cuts and wounds.


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