How to treat flea bites on humans

Written by julia fuller
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How to treat flea bites on humans
(series object on black - ear cotton image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Fleas use their jaws to cut through skin, and their saliva contains anticoagulants to keep the blood flowing. Humans can't always avoid being bitten, especially since fleas can jump up to 16 inches. Because fleas are indiscriminate about who or what they bite, they can transmit such diseases as murine typhus, bubonic plague and tapeworm larvae. Scratching flea bites can lead to infections.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Oral antihistamine
  • Calamine lotion
  • Tea tree oil
  • Antiseptic lotion or soap
  • Oatmeal bath

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  1. 1

    Take an oral antihistamine to help reduce the urge to itch.

  2. 2

    Wash the bites with antiseptic lotion or soap. Use cool water, because hot water may stimulate itching.

  3. 3

    Saturate a cotton swab with tea tree oil and clean the bites.

  4. 4

    Apply a hydrocortisone cream to the area to reduce the itch. Read the directions on the tube to see how often you can reapply.

  5. 5

    Apply calamine lotion to the bites to prevent itching. When it dries, it will create a light cover over the bites.

  6. 6

    Soak in a tepid oatmeal bath.

  7. 7

    Place an ice pack on the bites to reduce the swelling and itch.

Tips and warnings

  • If the fleas came from your pets, treat them for fleas.
  • Vacuum often to eliminate flea eggs and quell reproduction.
  • Scratching bug bites until they bleed can lead to infection. Most fleas defecate while biting, and when you itch, you move the faeces into the open wound, spreading bacteria or diseased organisms into your body.
  • See your doctor if you develop an infection from the bites or suspect you have contracted a disease. The incubation period for murine typhus, also known as endemic typhus, is six to 14 days after being bitten, and symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, body aches and possibly a rash. The rash starts on the trunk of your body and spreads to your arms and legs after five or six days.

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