Flea Bites in Humans: Ways to Treat and Prevent It



We always had a pet dog since I was small. However, due to our busy life now, we decided not to adopt any because we would not be able to take care of it. Occasionally though, some wandering dog or cat may stray at our place and we would always feed them with leftovers.


One stray dog would come regularly to ask for food. We did not know she was pregnant. She decided that our place is where she would give birth to her puppies. That is when our problems started.


About a week after she gave birth, I noticed numerous purplish red spots on my legs, thighs and my waistband. Then after a few more days, it spread to my chest, back, neck, arms and earlobes.


At first I thought it was food allergy, until my husband and my son started getting it too. We finally realized it was flea bites when I found one crawling on my clothes.


How to Identify Flea Bites

Flea bites are small, raised red spots. They usually appear raised, bright red or sometimes purplish red in color and are very itchy. They are usually found in the lower legs, ankles, knee and elbow folds, armpits, and waist. They also commonly appear in clusters.


Some people are not allergic to flea bites, so their bites seldom become red, swollen and itchy. Unfortunately for me, I was one of those who have moderate to severe allergic reaction to flea bites.


Treatment for Flea Bites

In order to help relieve the itchiness, ice pack can be applied over the affected area. The relief is almost instant although it only lasts for about 10 to 20 minutes. For a longer relief, you must take anti-histamine for five to seven days to also keep the inflammation down.


To decrease the reddening and eventual darkening as well as the itching of bite marks, apply topical corticosteroids or calamine lotion.


If there are breaks in the skin due to too much scratching, it would be best to apply topical anti-bacterial in order to prevent the breaks from being infected, which can prolong the healing process.


To prevent fleas from biting you, apply insect repellant lotion containing permethrin or DEET. Fleas hate the smell of certain herbs like citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, lemon and citrus. So applying essential oils could also help repel the fleas.


How to Eliminate Fleas from Your Home

I have tried almost every advice I got online. However, I am only going to share those that I find helpful and effective.


Cleaning the entire house with dishwashing liquid diluted with a little water helped. Washing the beddings with hot water, soap and bleach also helped eliminate the adult fleas (and probably the eggs too).  I also vacuumed the bed everyday, even taking out the foam cover and vacuuming the foam. I would have wanted to use a steamer but I don’t have one.


However, the most effective and almost immediate treatment was spraying the entire house, including the bathroom, with multi-insect killer spray containing pyrethrins (permethrin, prallethrin, transfluthrin, allethrin, etc.).


Since we have a small child at home, I bought the water-based type since it was safer. I tried the odorless variant but I was concerned that we are inhaling it without us knowing so I bought the scented one the next time around.


Photo credit: Kaj17

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