Whilst flea bites on cats and dogs are something pet owners are usually vigilant for, flea bites on humans are often a surprise when found, and treated with a degree of embarrassment, however if you share your home with a cat or dog, it’s not unlikely you’ll also at some point share these annoying little pests with them too.
One of the main symptoms that your pet has fleas is their continual scratching, a symptom echoed in human flea bites. This irritation is often concentrated around a small red bump, in the most common areas for bites, such as ankles, lower legs and waist, where clothing is usually most snug against the skin.
As with many things, prevention of flea bites is the best cure – pet bedding should be regularly washed in hot water, and pets treated with over-the-counter medication.
If you suffer from an infestation, there are a number of things you can do to treat your home – but what about yourself? Treating the itching can be done in a number of ways – as sometimes recommended with dog flea bites, a tepid bath will help calm the bites down, as will a warm oatmeal bath. Alternatively, you can use an ice pack on the infected area, temporarily relieving the itch and numbing the area.
You can treat the actual bite itself with a hydrocortisone or topical anti-itch cream, such as Eurax HC Cream, which contains an anti-inflammatory ingredient, although isn’t suitable for children under 10.
HC45 Cream is a similar, if slightly stronger, topical cream, again not suitable for under 10s, and with a stated treatment time of up to 10 hours, so particularly good for night time, when you are perhaps more likely to scratch bites. In general, hydrocortisone creams for children need to be prescribed by a doctor.
Scratching these irritating spots is very tempting and is obviously what happens with dog and cat flea bites, however it is important to try not to!
Fleas often defecate whilst feeding, and scratching can potentially move this into the wound, causing bacterial infections. As they also feed from multiple hosts, the potential to spread infection is high too.
To prevent this, simply washing the bites with warm (not hot) water and a mild soap, should help – as mentioned previously, this gentle washing should also help calm the area, before application of a hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. The downside of calamine lotion is that it tends to leave a chalky residue behind that means it may not be suitable to use on the face or other exposed parts of the body.
You can also take an antihistamine, such as Benadryl, to reduce the allergic reaction to the bite. Benadryl can cause drowsiness, so it is recommended not to drive after use, and may cause excitement in children, however should only be given to under 12s in extreme circumstances. It is important that if you develop any symptoms other than itchy spots, you should contact your doctor.
Having had a flea problem, whether affecting just your pet or human inhabitants too, you need to take action to treat your home, thoroughly cleaning all carpets and upholstery where fleas may be, taking care to vacuum into hidden crevices. There are a number of treatments you can purchase to kill the fleas by spraying onto furniture, as well as homemade solutions such as salt. Whichever way you choose to tackle it, ignoring itchy flea bites on humans, dogs or cats is not an option!
Our Recommended Flea Treatments
(Click for reviews and pricing information)
Frontline Spot On
Frontline comes in packs of either 6 or 3 easy to use pipettes, the 6 pack is a bit easier on the wallet in the long run, it is an effective product at removing and prevent fleas and ticks, rated a lot higher than standard sprays and powders, it requires once a month application to the scruff of the cat or dogs neck to prevent the animals cleaning the area.
Using Frontline and a good flea spray for the home is an effective cost-effective way of controlling fleas.
Indorex Household Spray 500Ml
A highly effective spray for carpets, wooden flooring and furniture, recommended by most vets, it does not leave behind a nasty smell that lingers like other sprays.
Safe for both humans and pets it is the No.1 UK Household flea spray and 1st choice for pet owners. One 500ml can covers 79m2, which is the equivalent of an average size three bedroom semi. with protection against egg and larvae development lasting for 12 months.
The 3 active ingredients are Permethrin, an inseciticide, Piperonyl Butoxde - reinforces the activity of the Permethrin and Priproxyfen, a long lasting insect growth regulator which prevents eggs and larvae developing into adults.
Groomers Ridasect Flea Shampoo 1 litre
1 Litre Ridasect Anti-Flea Shampoo Specially formulated as a natural anti-flea and tick apllication, a large bottle which will last a long time as a small amount goes a long way Mix well with water and gives a brilliant lather. can be used for both dogs and cats and leaves a long lasting fragrance.
Gotcha STV020 Flea Killer Trap Electric
Fantastic chemical free product. The trap works by attracting fleas using gentle heat to mimic that of host animals. The adhesive disc within will trap the fleas as they jump on
Leave it in an empty room and the fleas will become stuck on the disc, a great product if you don't want to use toxic sprays all over the house. The other benefit is that you can monitor the fleas you are removing from your home whereas with the sprays you have to assume that it has worked.
Johnsons 4Fleas Room Flea Fogger Twin Pack
Johnson's 4Fleas Household Twin Room Fogger has been expertly developed to kill fleas and other insects such as ants, cockroaches and earwigs in one treatment. This product comprises of two 100ml aerosols and is the perfect solution to a suspected infestation of fleas or other insects.
This easy to use spray is not only effective in killing the live insects, but prevents the development of eggs hatching as well. It also provides protection for your home's furnishing's and most importantly, your pets bedding, for up to seven months.
it's important to remove plants, children & animals from the rooms you are spraying for at least 2 hrs. 100ml treats an area of 35 square metres.