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What Happens If You Get Bit by a Flea?

Updated November 21, 2016

When you are surrounded by pets it's not unusual to be bitten by fleas, which are tiny brown bugs that sport hard shells. Fleas jump onto people or onto the carpet in your home off of their host, which is your pet. They have little claws positioned on the ends of their legs. This is what allows them to attach themselves to warm-blooded animals and people. Fleas drink blood.

The Bite

When you are bitten by a flea, the area where the bite occurs will itch. Usually flea bites occur in groups. You will get three or four bites on your body that resemble small red bumps, according to Kidshealth.org. The itchiness will make you want to scratch but doing so can infect the flea bites. Try to resist. Wash the bite using soap and water and apply calamine lotion or some other anti-itch type of medicine which will quell the itchiness. Use ice or petroleum jelly to stop the itching. If the flea bite doesn't seem to respond to these treatments, consult with your doctor.

Blood-Feeders

Insects that are blood-feeding, as are fleas, are drawn to animal and human bodies because of the chemicals that are emitted in sweat and other secretions. Some people are extremely sensitive to flea saliva, which causes an allergic reaction in humans when bitten, whereas other humans barely notice when a flea bites them. Those who have a bad reaction to the bite will itch intensely for up to five days and the bite site will turn red. Fleas often bite humans on the ankles and feet, notes Goaskalice.columbia.edu.

Fleas are Everywhere!

There are actually more than 2,000 varieties of flea and in America alone there are 200 varieties. These pesky creatures can jump up to 16 inches and like to bite. After a female flea has its first blood meal she will lay eggs within two days. A female flea is capable of laying 50 eggs a day. Fleas need a host, a human or an animal, so they can reproduce.

Common Types

The common cat flea is called Ctenocephalides felis and the common dog flea is Ctenocephalides canis. Cat fleas can carry disease, although they typically don't. If you eat a cat's flea this can result in tapeworm.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.