You are enjoying Sunday with the kids and your family dog out in the park. It’s such a nice day that you may have missed that small brown bug with a hard shell crawling in your child’s skin. Suddenly, your child feels itchy and tiny red bumps slowly appeared. Time to check if your child has flea bites. Those tiny red bumps should never be taken lightly.
WHAT CAUSES FLEA BITES
Fleas are wingless parasites that can be found in all corners of the world. There are three types of fleas depending on where they feed off the blood they need. The three main species that are known to infest humans are dog fleas, cat fleas and human fleas. Fleas are known to cause infection as they transfer from one host to another. Remember the bubonic plague in Europe back in the Middle Ages? Fleas were responsible for such plague! They fed on wild rodents and brought disease to the humans they bit. Therefore, fleas are not selective of their blood host despite having different species. Fleas can jump from cat to dog to humans just to satisfy their quench for blood. This makes them carriers of diseases found in their previous hosts. So flea bites are to be taken seriously.
You may think fleas only exist in areas with pets. Fleas can infest your house even without a furry playmate. They can also live in tall grasses and shaded areas. A day in your yard can also make you prone to flea bites.
SIGNS OF FLEA BITES
There are many signs to indicate your child has flea bites. Flea bites causes irritation to the skin which would explain the tiny, red bumps in the skin in just a matter of minutes. They can cause mild to severe irritation depending on your child’s sensitivity. These bites, usually in groups of three or four, are smaller than your average pimple. There is usually a main puncture point in the middle of the red marks. Remember that these are bite marks and can lead to minor infections if scratched. The bumps can also become scabs if scratched. Flea bites are commonly found in the legs and feet or areas with tight clothing.
DANGERS OF FLEA BITES
Flea bites can cause allergic reactions to certain people. These reactions can include development of a larger skin rash or even chest pains and breathing problems. Not treating the bites within the week can cause the irritation to spread. It can even reach the host’s central nervous system.
Your pets are also not safe from the dangers of flea bites. Remember that fleas feed on the blood of their host. Kittens and puppies that are infested with fleas can get severe anemia if left untreated. Healthy pets may not be largely affected by the blood loss caused by fleas but severe infestation can affect your young or elderly pets. Effects on your pets can include hair loss and pale gums.
FLEA BITE TREATMENTS
Your first treatment for the flea bites should be self-control. Control the urge to scratch even if the itch becomes too irritating. Scratching will only make it worse. Wash the bites with warm water. Avoid hot water as this can cause more skin irritation. You can also purchase over-the-counter anti-itch creams to spread on the bites. Antihistamine medications also work to alleviate the allergic reaction especially for sensitive skin.
Remember that the first few minutes are important to cure flea bites. More sever irritation can spread across your body in just 48 hours. So equip yourself with the right information in dealing with flea bites.