Fleas... a pet's worst nightmare... but what if they're biting humans too!?
An infestation left unchallenged can easily lead to flea bites on humans.
Which is probably why you're here right?
These unwanted guests can easily invade your home in various ways without you noticing it.
Regardless of the cause of the problem, human flea infestation need to be dealt with effectively as soon as possible.
In this article, you'll learn:
- The differences between human and pet fleas (are there any?)
- How fleas even get to humans in the first place
- Common signs and symptoms of fleas on humans
- And some of our top tactics for human flea removal
Ready to get started?!
Are Human and Pet Fleas the Same?
First off... are human fleas and pet fleas the same thing?
Well... yes and no.
There is technically a "human flea" that goes by the more scientific name, Pulex irritans.
These fleas are not found in more industrialized first world countries like the United States, so it is more likely that your cat or dog has gotten fleas and you're getting caught in the crossfire.
Flea bites on humans can be caused by either dog fleas, cat fleas, or human fleas. Both cat and dog fleas favor drinking the blood of their canine and feline hosts.
However, this doesn't stop them from wandering around and grabbing human blood snack from time to time. Severe flea infestation also lead to both cat and dog fleas hunting for human hosts as their alternative source of food.
On the other hand, the human flea (Pulex irritans) usually comes from a wide variety of mammals such as coyotes, skunks, and foxes. When it comes to physical characteristics, the human fleas are pretty much the same to dog and cat fleas.
Human fleas are however slightly larger in body size (1.5-4mm). Human fleas are also dreaded because they occasionally transmit pathogenic plagues such as Yersinia pestis, aka the plague (not good).
How do Humans Get Fleas?
More often than not, humans get fleas by coming in contact with their infested cat or dog. Below we listed out a couple more common ways humans manage to get onto a human host.
- Pets: The obvious method of getting human fleas is if you have cats or dogs at home and have fleas that you are not aware of. It only takes one month or two for thousands of cat or dog fleas to reach your bedroom and take you for dinner and midnight snack.
- Traveling: Even if you are not a pet owner, fleas can still invade your home in other ways. Visiting flea infested places can also trigger an infestation in your home. With the help of their strong hind legs, fleas can easily jump into your luggage and hitch a free ride on you.
- Farms: The human fleas, Pulex irritans, have also been recorded to live on pigs. This means that people who work on pig farms are prone to acquiring fleas.
- Other Animals: Human fleas are also delivered straight into homes through other hosts such as birds and rats.
What Are Common Signs Humans Have Fleas?
Fleas primarily feed on the blood of their host. On average, our body is composed around 9-12 pints of blood.
Read Also: How long can fleas live without a host?
Basically, we are a milk fountain in the eyes of these pesky parasites. And as long as there are fleas around the corner, our chances of getting bitten are just the same with cats and dogs.
Here are some signs to help you confirm that you have you problem:
- Clustered red dots (sometimes in 3's) that often come with swelling around the bite similar to a mosquito bite
- Black specs on your white sheets (aka flea dirt)
- Your pets are scratching and/or appear to have fleas
The following video will enlighten you on the factors that cause human flea infestation.
How Do You Get Rid of Human Fleas?
Unfortunately, you get to realize that you have human flea problem only after you have fallen victim from its seemingly unquenchable appetite.
In almost all circumstances of a flea problem, you're going to have to target the source of the problem for any real removal to occur.
That being said, here are the steps we recommend you go through for complete removal:
- Identify: Identify the most likely source of your flea infestation (e.g., pet bedding area, your bed, etc). This is where the eggs will be, which you'll need to remove to interrupt the life cycle.
- Treat: Once you've found the most likely source of flea infestation, you'll need to vacuum and clean the area thoroughly. The key here to remember is to clear out the eggs to stop new fleas from being born. If you have pets, make sure to give them a collar and/or some of flea treatment.
- Repeat: Once you've started the removal process you;ll need to keep monitoring if you continue to get bitten, where you're getting bitten, and when you're getting bitten.
Read Also: What are the top flea collars for cats?
How To Treat Human Flea Bites On You Skin?
Just like mosquitoes, when bitten with fleas, the first thing that you should do is avoid scratching the bite area since doing so will only worsen the skin's allergic reaction on the parasite's saliva and may eventually lead to infection.
Here's what you should do:
- Apply calamine lotion on the bite areas to relieve itchiness. You can use aloe vera lotion as an alternative.
- Antihistamines are also an effective solution in getting rid of the itchiness of flea bites.
- However, this step is recommended only if you talk to your doctor to acquire the needed prescription.
Read More: Click here to learn more about fleas.
The video below will show you more ways in getting rid of human fleas.
How Long Does It Take To Get Rid of Human Fleas?
Provided that you are already equipped with the right knowledge and tools, getting rid of human fleas from your body takes only a couple of minutes.
However, it covers only half of the problem. In fact, flea infestation is composed of 90% eggs and these things don't settle in one place.
This is why cleaning up infested areas is CRITICAL to complete removal.
Flea eggs are not sticky and therefore fall to the ground most of the time. If you have fleas in your hair, chances are that at least a couple hundred eggs are scattered all over your home, especially in your bedroom near your pillow.
The sooner you vacuum up all potentially infested, wash all of your sheets (on high-heat), and treat your pets, the sooner your problem should take care of itself.
Final Thoughts On Human Fleas
More likely than not, if you are a man or a women, and you think you have fleas, it is probably becuase you caught them from your pets.
If a flea has gone without a blood meal for a long period of time, they will search for whatever they can find.
Please check our guides on bed bug bites to make sure you don't actually have some form of bed bugs instead of fleas.
Other Flea Guides
Curious about other flea related articles? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.