Fleas feed on the blood of mammals, including both humans and other animals. So, the short answer to the question “do cat fleas bite humans?” is yes. Although they still favor pets, fleas are more than happy to feast on humans as well. However, keep calm. This page provides a comprehensive guide on:
Who is at risk of flea bites?
Yes, humans are susceptible to flea bites, especially if they have pets at home like cats. These wingless parasites from your own country could infest it, particularly if they spend time or reside outside. Cat fleas lack wings, so they cannot fly, but they can jump several times farther than the length of their own bodies. They have amazing vertical and horizontal jumping abilities and are only 3 mm length (about 6 inches vertically and 13 inches horizontally).
What are the symptoms of flea bites in humans?
The emergence of flea bites on your skin is the most typical sign that your home has a flea infestation.
Below are the symptoms of flea bites in humans:
- An excruciating itch may also become painful.
- round, red pimples that are tender to the touch that emerge in tiny groupings.
- They frequently affect the lower body, especially the feet, ankles, and lower legs.
- Flea bites can also occur in other areas of the body, including as the armpit, waist, and elbow, albeit they are extremely uncommon.
- Flea bites can cause allergic reactions in certain people, including chest pain, nausea, dizziness, and breathing problems.
How can you tell if it’s a flea bite?
Flea bites differ slightly from other typical bug bites. Usually, a tiny, discolored lump appears after a flea bites you. Around the bite, a discolored ring could develop. Flea bites do not grow as large as mosquito bites do. The pattern and location of flea bites make them distinctive as well. Flea bites frequently occur in a line or grouping. Your feet, calves, and ankles are the areas of your legs where fleas are most likely to attack you. It’s crucial to check your dogs. It’s a good idea to examine your pets for fleas if they are scratching more than usual and being restless. You most likely have flea bites if your cat has fleas and you have bites on your legs.
Flea bites vs. bed bug bites on humans
Considering that both fleas and bed bugs are little insects that feed on the blood of mammals, the majority of people frequently struggle to distinguish between them. but observing the patterns and places of their bites is one of the simplest ways to differentiate between these two. The areas of the legs and ankles where fleas most frequently bite people. Humans typically get bed bug bites on their arms, necks, and hands because these areas are adjacent to blood arteries that are close to the skin’s surface. Flea bites are small and typically occur in groups of three or more, unlike bed bug bites, which frequently appear in a line or row along an exposed area.
Flea bites vs. mosquito bites on humans
Fleas and mosquitoes can easily be distinguished from one another based on their body shapes. But how simple is it to tell these two insect bites apart? Bites from mosquitoes and fleas can occur at any moment. However, flea bites are much smaller and have a center red spot, whereas mosquito bites look as big, irritating lumps. Mosquito bites are widespread, but flea bites are localized and infrequently affect the upper body.
How do you treat flea bites on human skin?
Flea bites often don’t injure people and will go away on their own. However, some people are extremely allergic to flea bites, which results in severe responses that necessitate emergency medical intervention. Follow the few recommendations below to treat flea bites on your skin if you have them:
- The first thing to do is to control the urge to scratch. Infection might result from doing so!
- To prevent infection, wash the bites with an antiseptic soap as soon as possible on the afflicted region.
- By applying pressure to the skin with an ice pack, you can lessen the skin’s swelling and irritation.
- To stop the itching from getting worse, apply calamine lotion or a topical menthol anti-itch cream.
Even after putting an anti-itch topical lotion to the skin, you should still be cautious and seek medical attention if the itch persists after a week and the bites become infected from scratching.
What happens when a flea bites you?
Fleas can latch onto a host by using the powerful claws at the ends of their legs. They penetrate your skin with a microscopic needle in their mouths (called a proboscis), sucking your blood and releasing saliva into your bloodstream.
Why do flea bites itch?
Your body recognizes saliva from a flea that has secreted saliva into your bloodstream as an allergy. Once the flea has bitten you, your immune system releases the chemical histamine to flush the allergen from your body. Itching and swelling from flea bites are brought on by histamine. Most people are allergic to flea bites.
How do I stop flea bites from itching?
Avoid picking at flea bites. You run the danger of exposing yourself to illness and breaking your skin. Keep the area clean by cleaning it with soap and water and covering your flea bites with a bandage if you accidently break your skin. If you have a flea bite that is infected, consult your doctor. The effects of flea bites fade quickly. However, there are numerous over-the-counter items or DIY cures that help reduce irritation from flea bites. Most people can safely use home treatments. Before using some of the following methods to treat your flea bites, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor. Your skin could potentially have an allergic reaction.
- Antihistamines: Antihistamines are a common remedy for flea bites. Your immune system produces the molecule histamine. When your body comes into contact with an allergen, histamine is released. Itching from flea bites is caused by histamine. An antihistamine can be consumed as a pill or applied topically as a lotion or ointment to the flea bite.
- Hydrocortisone: A corticosteroid and anesthetic pain reliever are mixed to make hydrocortisone. It reduces swelling and irritation. As a cream or ointment, you can apply it immediately to your flea bite.
- Ice: The volume of blood flowing to an area can be slowed down by ice. It eases itching, edema, pain, and inflammation. For relief from flea bites, place an ice pack over the region and cover it with a thin cloth for at least 10 minutes.
- Aloe vera: The plant aloe vera is a succulent. Salicylic acid, which is present in the gel in its leaves, soothes itchiness and pain. You can directly apply aloe gel on the flea bite.
- Chamomile tea: Dried chamomile flowers are used to make chamomile tea. Terpenoids and flavonoids, which are organic compounds with antioxidant and antihistamine characteristics, can be found in dried chamomile flowers. Add a chamomile tea bag to water to treat a flea bite. Tea bags should be steeped for at least 20 minutes, or until the water turns a deep gold-brown. Squeeze the tea bag to remove extra water after removing it from the water. For at least 10 minutes, apply the tea bag to your flea bites, then remove it with a fresh cloth. You may use the wet tea bag on your nibbles all day long if you store it in a container in your refrigerator.
- Honey: There are several compounds in honey that can ease pain and irritation. A catalase-containing enzyme found in honey reduces mild inflammation. Apply just enough raw honey on your flea bites to lightly cover them. You can additionally cover your honey-coated flea bites with a bandage to prevent unintentionally making a sticky mess.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal has anti-itching qualities that can relieve flea bite itchiness. The best approach to use oatmeal to treat flea bites is to combine or process it into a fine powder called colloidal oatmeal. Warm water should be added to the oatmeal powder until a thick, gooey mixture forms. Apply enough oatmeal paste to your flea bites to completely cover them. Use a clean cloth to remove the paste after at least ten minutes.
How do I stop getting bitten by fleas?
You must eradicate the fleas in order to stop flea bites. Your pet is more prone to get bitten by fleas. Look for fleas on your pet’s belly, back, neck, and ears. Look around the skin of your pet by separating its fur. Here are several options for flea elimination, if you find any:
- Flea comb: A flea comb has very close-spaced tines. Fleas become lodged in the brush’s tines as you brush your pet’s fur. Put the comb in a dish of soapy water if you notice any fleas inside.
- Flea shampoo: Apply a flea wash liberally after completely soaking your pet in warm water. Keep shampoo away from your pet’s mouth and eyes.
- Medicine: Dispense over-the-counter or prescription flea medications to your pet. Certain drugs are oral (taken by mouth). Others are topical medications (put on the skin).
- Wash the bedding: Every few days, wash the bedding for your pet in hot water. If your pet sleeps with you, wash your blankets in hot water as well. Use the highest heat setting to dry the bedding.
- Vacuum: To completely clean your carpets, rugs, and fabric furnishings, use a powerful vacuum. Immediately after you’re done, empty the vacuum’s contents into a bag, seal it, and dispose of it outside.
How do fleas spread disease?
Through their bites, fleas can transmit disease. Vectors include fleas (living things that carry diseases between animals and humans). Blood is a common way that vectors spread diseases. Bloodsuckers make up a large portion of the species classified as vectors. Ticks, mosquitoes, and sandflies are some more carriers. Fleas can occasionally transmit tapeworms and other parasites to both people and animals. If a person or animal were to unintentionally swallow an infected flea, parasites may spread. Young children have a higher chance of contracting a parasite than adults in homes with a flea infestation. Fleas prefer to hide in carpets and crevices, where little children spend more time than older ones.
What types of diseases can be spread by flea bites?
Sometimes infections that can infect humans are carried by fleas. These conditions include:
Small rodents are most frequently impacted by plague in Africa, Asia, North America, and South America. In the western region of the country, particularly in rural New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, California, Oregon, and Nevada, plague cases in humans are most common. Humans can contract the plague from infected fleas. After handling an infected animal, humans can also contract the plague. Plague symptoms include:
- fever, pains, and chills are flu-like symptoms.
- Low blood pressure.
- Bleeding under the skin or other organs.
- Shortness of breath.
- Pain in the chest and/or abdomen.
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
Endemic murine typhus
Tropical and subtropical locations with warm coastal areas frequently have endemic murine typhus. Southern California and Texas account for the majority of instances in the US. Through their droppings, infected fleas spread endemic murine typhus to people. When you scratch a flea bite, infected flea excrement usually breaks through the skin and enters your body. You can also breathe it in through your mouth or nose. Endangered murine typhus symptoms include:
- General discomfort.
- Pain in your muscles and/or joints.
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Fever and/or chills.
Cat Scratch Disease (CSD)
CSD is a widespread occurrence worldwide. In mild areas, the fall and winter months saw an increase in instances. In tropical settings, cases happen all year long. Cats catch the bacterium Bartonella from fleas. On occasion, dogs or other animals might contract the bacterium from fleas. During battles with other cats, infected cats can also spread the infection. Cats, especially kittens, can infect people by biting or scratching them. CSD symptoms include:
- A small, discolored blister or pimple near the scratch or bite.
- Swollen, painful lymph nodes.
- General discomfort.
- Night sweats.
- Weight loss.
Fleas can occasionally become infected by tapeworm larvae as well as other parasite larvae. Both people and animals can contract parasites from infected fleas. To get a parasite, both animals and humans must ingest an infected flea. While grooming, an infected flea may be swallowed by the animal. Rarely can parasites from sick fleas spread to humans. Children are more frequently affected because they spend more time on the ground near places where fleas hide. Parasitic symptoms include:
- Weight loss.
- Abdominal pain.