Flea bite: symptoms, treatments and risks

When we talk about fleas, the first thing we usually think of is the image of an animal infested with these beings.Often a dog or cat, scratching continuously in the face of itching.

But not only can these animals suffer from flea bites, but it is also easy for them to infest humans. In this article we will talk specifically about the flea bite and what it means.

Fleas too

Fleas are small insects, usually between one and seven millimeters in length, Which are part of the order of Siphonápteros or wingless insects. Its body is tough and resilient, with a relatively small head compared to the rest of the body. They have long, strong hind legs that allow them to make great jumps, hence the main mechanism by which they move and jump from one organism to another.

They are parasitic insects that feed primarily on the blood of other animals, especially mammals. To do this, they have jaw-shaped jaws that allow them to generate a tear in the skin through which they can be fed. In the case of females, they need this blood to lay eggs, which they frequently do throughout their lives.

The eggs are usually laid in the host, in turn the mother flea has small fecal remnants in which it supplies digested blood that can nourish the future larva. Many species of fleas exist, which can be found to differ in their morphology or the type of species they infect.

Flea bites: symptoms

Fleas bite to feed on other animals, mainly mammals. In this sense, they are common in animals such as dogs, cats, rats or horses. But they can also sting humans and move from one species to another. Its sting tends to occur in the limbs (especially the lower limbs), at least in men. The sting in question can become painful.

Once produced, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between flea bites and those of other insects. In this aspect, the fleas themselves are characterized by easy bleeding by scratching (in fact, it is common to find traces of blood on clothes or sheets when the bites are on humans) and being arranged in rows. because these beings tend to move to different places to bite instead of focusing on a single area.

The reaction of our skin to a flea bite is usually rapid, appearing within a few minutes. A small bump usually appears with a point in the center (where the flea pierced the skin), which it generates a high level of itching or itching and redness of the area. It is common for the area to become inflamed (and not just the bite itself).

A possible complication of flea bites is the onset of a skin infection, which will often be accompanied by fever and other typical symptoms of infection such as fever or fatigue. Sometimes in severe cases anemia can occur.

Another possible complication is that which occurs in people who are allergic to their bite, which could lead to the presence of blisters and rashes, emotional sensitivity, fatigue, diarrhea or breathing problems which can lead to anaphylactic shock. .

Certain diseases transmitted by fleas

Typically, a flea bite is annoying but usually does not cause additional complications. However, as with mosquitoes, there is a risk that they may carry a certain type of virus or bacteria that can transmit a certain type of disease.

It was not in vain, it was the flea bite that caused the spread and spread of one of the greatest pandemics in history: the Black Death.. This disease was introduced to Europe by fleas from rats traveling in boats, by transmission of the bacteria Yersinia pestis, and has caused the death of thirty to sixty percent of the population worldwide. Territory through which it developed (at that time, most of the world known).

Although bubonic plague (which caused buboes and caused severe inflammation of the lymph nodes) is the one that has caused the most pandemics and is the most common and well-known, the truth is that there is also pneumonic plague. , neurological plague and septicaemic plague. Although it is not currently considered the pandemic it once was, there are still a few cases of the disease.

Along with the plague, we have seen that flea bites can transmit diseases such as typhus or leishmaniasis, among others. You can also introduce tapeworms or solitary eggs if the flea is accidentally or intentionally ingested (eg by some children). These diseases can be transmitted within the same species or transmitted to others, and it is not impossible that they are transmitted from animal to human or vice versa.


Flea bites are usually not treated or treated unless they are accompanied by allergic or other symptoms.. In general, no treatment is received, with the possible exception of the application of cream. In case of allergy, the use of antihistamines will reduce the symptoms. Epinephrine may need to be injected in case of anaphylactic shock and / or use of glucocorticoids. If any type of bacteria has been transmitted, antibiotics will tend to be used.

What is important is prevention: the hygiene of the environment and of the person and / or animals will make the possibility of infestation difficult. It is also essential to keep the vaccines of people and animals up to date so that certain diseases cannot be transmitted to them. In pets, the use of pipettes is recommended to prevent fleas from approaching. Special care should be taken with pregnant women and children, as they are more at risk.

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