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How to Get Rid of Fleas on Humans?

Torso of a woman in a yellow shirt using one arm to scratch the other.

Although fleas prefer dogs, cats, and other animals, they can also latch onto humans. The easiest method to stay safe from these pesky parasites is to keep your home flee-free. Similarly, you should ensure that your pet’s coat is free from these pests. Eliminating these root causes of flea infestation will minimize the chances of flea bites on your skin. Keep reading to know why fleas attack humans and learn how you can get rid of them on humans.

What Attracts Fleas to Humans?

What attracts fleas to humans? Fleas feed on the blood of mammals. They use movement, heat, carbon dioxide, and the scent of blood to trace their hosts. Humans fulfill all these criteria and are one of the most accessible targets.

However, fleas prefer animals, like dogs and cats, because of their furry coat. It provides an ideal environment (heat and moisture) for fleas to grow and, they can also hide easily inside the coat. For this reason, fleas will attack humans only when they can’t find a better host.

How Do Humans Get Fleas?

Woman sitting on a rug with a beagle playing in front of a couch

Coming in contact with an infected animal is the most likely cause. Therefore, pets are considered responsible for fleas on human skin in most cases. However, some other reasons can also lead to this problem and the most common among them are discussed below.

Traveling – Adventurous people who like to visit different places and explore the world are more vulnerable to fleas. This is because fleas can attach themselves on your luggage, shoes, or even clothes while exploring an infested area. They can then travel to your home (with you) and may cause an infestation.

Working on Farms – Getting infected with fleas is an occupational hazard if you work on a farm, especially if it has pigs. These farms offer an excellent breeding ground for human fleas and the newborn parasites will attack the staff.

Animals – Several animals (besides your pet) can bring fleas into your home. For example, birds, rats, and other stray animals in your surrounding can also provide a ride to these parasites.

Is there a bug spray to get rid of fleas on humans? Check out our post “Bug Spray for Fleas for Humans” to learn more.

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Humans?

Close up of person vacuuming a floor

Fleas infiltrate your house (and reproduce) very quietly, and you will notice them only after an infestation. Therefore, it becomes necessary to remove the fleas completely from your house to get the job done. Let’s discuss some of the measures that you can take to counter a flea infestation.

Identify the Source and Hot Areas – This step is essential to ensure complete cleaning because you want to eliminate all forms of fleas. The majority of the fleas are in the form of eggs and can cause a re-infestation after initial treatment.

Vacuum the House – Clean the entire home while giving special attention to the selected areas. Vacuum those spots thoroughly to clear out as many fleas and eggs as possible. You may have to repeat this process several times to remove all the fleas.

Wash the Bedding – If you are being bitten by fleas on your bed, this step can prove extremely beneficial. It will wash away these parasites (and their eggs) and give you a peaceful sleep.

Try Some Home Remedies – You can also use some natural solutions to get rid of fleas on humans. For example, spray apple cider vinegar and baking soda mixture on the affected areas. Likewise, you can use salt, dish soap, and diatomaceous earth for this purpose.

Use a Professional Pest Treatment – Many people use this option as a last resort, especially if they have pets. This is because some of these treatments contain toxic chemicals that can be detrimental to their health. However, you can consult your vet

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Human Skin?

One hand rubbing lotion on the other against a peach colored background.

If you are experiencing flea bites, these pests have infested your body and are sucking your blood. This means that you will also have to combat itchiness and swelling while eliminating fleas from your home. The following are some treatments that can come in handy for dealing with fleas on human skin.

  • Use Calamine Lotion to control the itch that follows a flea bite. Aloe Vera lotion can also be used for this purpose. The soothing substances in these lotions will reduce the itchiness and help the skin to heal.
  • Antihistamines can also prove useful to ease discomfort. However, it’s highly recommended to consult a health care provider before consuming any medication.
  • If you are experiencing serious symptoms, like headache and dizziness, consult your doctor immediately. He/she will determine the extent of the illness and suggest appropriate treatments (ointment, medications, etc.).  

NOTE: Avoid scratching the affected area because it can lead to an infection.

Check out our post “How to Keep Fleas Off Humans” to learn how to keep these mean little bugs away from your loved ones.

How Long Can Fleas Live on Humans?

Calendar against a yellow background

Fleas don’t live on humans for very long because they prefer animals with fur. It allows them to stay hidden and grow their population by laying eggs. Hence, these parasites are always looking for furry animals and will stay on them throughout their lifetime.

What is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Fleas on Humans?

White washing machine full of linens in a laundry room setting

Fleas can be easily washed or scratched off your body, and it will take only a few minutes to remove them. However, flea eggs can survive for weeks because they fall to the ground and stay there. They keep waiting for a suitable host and will latch onto it once it arrives. Hence, you must vacuum the floor and wash all the sheets and pets to ensure that fleas don’t come back.

Do Fleas Bite Humans?

Close up of single flea on human skin

Yes, fleas do bite humans and may bite three times in a row. Although they can bite on different body parts, fleas prefer legs, ankles, and feet the most. This could be because most fleas are born on the ground as flea eggs fall to the ground. Hence, feet and legs are the most accessible parts (of humans) for fleas to attack.

Fleas use the claws on their legs to stay attached to the host while biting humans. They insert a tiny needle into your skin before sucking the blood out of your body. An occasional flea bite might not leave a spot on the skin but continuous exposure to these parasites will result in visual marks. These lesions will fade away within a few days unless you have hypersensitive skin or the area becomes infected.

Why Do Flea Bites Itch?

Person scratching their forearm with the opposite hand.

Fleas release saliva into the body of their host while sucking its blood. This saliva is treated as an allergen by the immune system of humans. It will trigger the production of natural histamine that will counter the allergen. This histamine is responsible for the itch and swelling around the affected area. Some people are allergic to flea bites and can develop severe symptoms, like headache and nausea. If that’s the case, immediate medical help is advised.    

Symptoms of Fleas Bites

Man pointing out insect bites on his bare legs

Flea bites on humans occur in groups of two or three red spots with swelling around them. However, if an allergic person is bitten by fleas, he/she can develop serious symptoms, like nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Similarly, frequent scratching of the affected area can result in an infection. Some of the most common indications of flea bites are as follows.

  • Itching
  • Red spots in clusters of two or three
  • Swelling around the bite
  • Rashes

Treatment of Flea Bites

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Most flea bites won’t require a lot of treatment. You can just use antihistamines and ointments to ease the discomfort and relieve the itch. However, some people (those with hypersensitive skin and flea bite allergies) can develop serious symptoms after a flea bite. In that case, you should immediately visit a healthcare provider to determine the extent of the problem.

The doctor will examine the affected area and your overall condition to prescribe the most suitable treatment. For instance, antibiotics are used to improve the condition if there’s an infection in the wounds. Likewise, ointments and other medications can be recommended according to the condition of the affected human.

Are Fleas Dangerous for Humans?

Illustration of a flea isolated against a white background.

Fleas can cause much more trouble than itchy skin and swelling if the infestation becomes too severe. Some of the most serious problems that fleas can cause are discussed below.  

Allergic Reactions – Some people are allergic to flea saliva and will develop dermatitis after a bite. This condition is marked by irritated red skin and extreme itchiness. In extreme cases, it can also lead to an infection.

Bacterial Diseases – Plague and typhus are commonly associated with fleas in the United States. Fleas carry these bacteria and can transfer them to their host while sucking blood. In either case, a course of antibiotics is needed to improve the condition of the affected individual.

Tapeworms – Fleas are known to carry tapeworms that can enter your system if you ingest them. This problem is more common with kids and pets because they are more likely to consume fleas (accidentally). Although tapeworms are not detrimental to your health, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you suspect that your child or dog has tapeworms, seek medical or veterinarian help to resolve the issue.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.