Flea bites are some of the most annoying due to their consistent itching. If you want to know how to get rid of fleas on humans, you should first understand how fleas operate. Learn what drives them to bite, and how come they also munch on humans and not just pets.
Dealing with fleas can be a lengthy process. But luckily, it’s not something you can’t deal with on your own. It won’t require a professional exterminator, expensive repellents and treatments, or dangerous chemicals that may harm your pets. Not if you know what to look for.
Are Fleas Attracted to Humans?
There are many types of fleas. For the most part, they are not attracted to human blood. That’s especially true when there’s a pet around that would make a much easier target and a more comfortable host.
However, some fleas will bite humans, even though they don’t make them hosts. They don’t find all blood types equally attractive. Unfortunately, the only way to know if fleas favor you is if you get bitten.
Common Flea Repellents
Protecting yourself against fleas is not that difficult. But, depending on their maturity, species, and hunger, some repellents will work better than others. Here are some of the most popular repellents you can try.
You can use a wide range of essential oils on your skin to keep fleas at bay while you’re treating your home and your pets.
Oils such as those made from peppermint, lemongrass, cedarwood, eucalyptus, and even catnip, can repel fleas. Since these are natural products, they’re safe to use on your skin. Of course, unless you have a particular allergy to oils.
While you could use 100% oil extracts of a specific plant, I recommend trying different blends. They often show better overall results.
Just like various sprays and topical creams repel mosquitoes, a number of them can keep the fleas at bay. There are many specialty flea repellents on the market, both synthetic and organic.
Depending on your budget and what you’re comfortable with using, there are plenty of options for you.
Flea Bite Treatments
Flea bites rarely result in more advanced diseases and infections. However, due to how annoying the itching can be, there is a risk of infection if you open the wound while scratching.
You can try two things to prevent the need for scratching and get some pain relief at the same time. Either pick one of the many home remedies or one of the many topical over the counter medications.
Popular Home Remedies
The easiest and cheapest thing you can do to counteract the itching is to apply ice packs or frozen veggie packs. Direct application is a bad idea as it could cause skin burns. The best thing to do is to wrap them in a towel and then place the towel on the skin.
If the itching is not too bad, but you still want to speed up the healing process, you can try to dry the bites faster. You can use rubbing alcohol for this.
Tea tree oil is another natural remedy. It’s not the best one out there, but it can relieve itching if you don’t have too many bite clusters.
Aloe Vera gel, either freshly made or bought in a store, can also help alleviate the itching that flea bites cause.
Over the Counter Medication
Anti-itching topical medications are available without a prescription in any pharmacy. You can use various products such as gels or lotions. Hydrocortisone creams help, as does Benadryl.
You can even go a step further and take some antihistamines. Benadryl, for example, is also available as an oral antihistamine. However, this is not recommended to take it without at least checking with a doctor first.
Symptoms that might indicate that you need oral antihistamine include extreme itching and allergic reactions.
More Ways to Prevent Flea Bites in Humans
Using a topical repellent is only one way to go. Fleas, as already mentioned, are not particularly attracted to humans. So, unless you deal with animals regularly, it’s hard to bring fleas into your home, on your own.
Treat Your Pets
The most important thing to do is to check your pets regularly for fleas. If they scratch too often and too hard, they probably have fleas. You can spot them with your own eyes when checking their skin. The back of the head is a very common hotspot.
If your pets have fleas, there are many things you can do to get rid of them. Start by giving your pet a thorough bath with special anti-flea shampoo.
A pill or a shot can also help further. That will work better than shampoo on larvae and eggs, nesting in your pet’s coat.
Treat Your Surroundings
You should also consider treating your clothes, furniture, carpeting, and your yard if you have one. For this, you have your choice of foggers, sprays, powders, and other solutions such as thermal treatments. Eradicating fleas from your surroundings is the only way to prevent them from jumping on you and biting you.
Using diatomaceous earth on your carpeting, bedding, and even on your lawn is a good way of terminating fleas. That way, you can also get rid of other dangerous and annoying insects like ants, dust mites, bed bugs (I also wrote an article on bed bug vs flea bites), and ticks.
How to Recognize Flea Bites?
Before you use the wrong topical repellent or treatment, you should make sure that those spots on your skin are flea bites. Regardless of what species bit you, flea bites are always tiny red dots.
They are often found in clusters, display a redness in between, and can also feature a light halo at times. The most common places where fleas snack on humans is around joints and at the waist level.
Don’t Forget That Fleas Are Seasonal Pests
It’s important to stay alert come springtime. You won’t have much trouble with fleas during the winter or late autumn. But, an infestation that starts in early spring can keep you busy until the cold season hits.
And, if you don’t scan for fleas early enough, you’ll have to treat more than just your skin and your pet’s coat. Stay alert, and don’t postpone visual checkups.