Flea bites on Humans

Some people are more sensitive to flea bites and can have allergic reactions. Symptoms of allergic reactions to flea bites include:

Fleas also can be a public health threat because they can transmit several diseases to both humans and animals. Diseases transmitted to humans by fleas include:

Flea bites are extremely itchy and often provoke scratching. Rubbing or scratching the bites can break open skin, resulting in fluid release and crusting. Secondary bacterial infections are common. Infected bites can fill with pus (pustules and boils), and resemble pimples. Secondary infections remain mildly to moderately itchy.

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Michigan State University Pesticide Safety Education Program. “Questions and Answers About Fleas.”

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Getting rid of fleas is a multi-pronged approach. Some natural solutions may help repel fleas, however, if you have an infestation it is probably best to consult a pest-removal specialist to thoroughly rid your home of fleas, and consult your veterinarian to make sure your pets are flea-free.

For people who are allergic to flea bites, there can be larger areas of redness and small pimple-like bumps. The redness can last from a few hours to several days, depending on an individual’s reaction, and how much (or little) the bites are scratched.

Allergic reactions to flea bites can be a medical emergency, so call 911 or get to a hospital’s emergency department immediately.

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Regardless of how much they itch, try not to scratch flea bites. Flea bites can itch intensely and can cause a secondary infection.

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How do healthcare professionals diagnose flea bites in humans?

Infection and disease can result from flea bites. Infection usually occurs because of scratching the bites. Bacterial and other debris can be present under the fingernails, and if a person vigorously scratches a fleabite, they may cause the rash to become an open wound for bacteria to enter.

Flea bites don’t look like pimples. However, the bites are itchy and induce scratching. And scratching can lead to secondary infections. Pus-filled bacterial infections can look like zits or whiteheads.

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If your dermatologist suspects a flea bite, they will inquire about your living conditions and recent exposure after your skin examination. There is no laboratory test to confirm that fleas are the causal agent of these rashes.

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Since most flea bites are due to fleas brought into the home by pets, the best way to prevent being bitten is to prevent the fleas from getting on your pets.

Flea bites usually take the form of small, red welts (papules). Occasionally, some individuals experience more extreme reactions, such as blisters (vesicles and bullae). The blisters can be fluid-filled, but they won’t contain pus like a pimple.

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