Are fleas harmful to humans
Flea bites: recognizing and treating fleas - how do I get rid of them?
Pet owners in particular are familiar with the annoying parasites: fleas. Which symptoms you can use to recognize flea infestations in yourself or your pet and how to treat flea bites correctly.
How to recognize a flea bite in humans
Flea bites usually occur in groups. If you see several red, closely spaced spots, it could be flea bites. The problem with this diagnosis: the skin irritations often resemble an allergic reaction or measles.
In addition, flea bites cause severe itching. In any case, avoid scratching the areas. Even small wounds are a gateway for pathogens that can cause infections. Take particular care with your children that they do not scratch themselves too often and severely.
Flea bites: Flea bites usually occur in groups. (Source: PauloxDixOliviera 12692781 / imago images)
How to treat a flea bite
As an immediate measure against the itching, you should cool the affected skin areas. Pain relieving and cooling gels against insect bites from the pharmacy are also recommended.
If your body is allergic to flea bites, you should see a doctor and get a prescription for an ointment or tablets with antihistamines. Lower-dose ointments containing antihistamines, cortisone or hydrocortisone are available over the counter from pharmacies.
Fleas in humans: dog and cat transmission
The human flea is considered to be almost extinct in Northern and Central Europe due to the good hygienic conditions. This was responsible for the transmission of the plague in the Middle Ages. In humans, therefore, fleas mostly appear in the form of cat and dog fleas. Especially when your animal is out and about a lot, it can catch the annoying parasites through contact with other animals such as hedgehogs, mice and stray conspecifics and then transmit them to humans.
Once inside, the fleas can easily become a persistent nuisance. They can survive for up to a year without food in joints, cracks and corners. In addition, they multiply very quickly. A female lays up to several hundred eggs, preferably in upholstery and carpets. Even if you don't have pets, you can catch fleas while walking in the woods, visiting pet owners or doing gardening.
Can fleas transmit diseases?
Even if the plague is hardly a threat in Central Europe, cat and dog fleas can transmit diseases. These include typhus, polio, Lyme disease and swine fever. The risk of this is significantly higher in warm regions than in Germany. In addition, fleas can transmit other parasites such as the cucumber seed tapeworm to humans. Children in particular are at risk if they cuddle and play with their infected pet a lot.
Detect flea infestations in dogs and cats
A flea infestation in cats and dogs can be recognized by increased itching and the associated scratching.
Often, however, your pet becomes infected with fleas without any visible symptoms. The examination with a special flea comb helps here. This has particularly narrow prongs, which means that foreign bodies in the fur can be combed out easily. Run the comb through your pet's fur, then pat it out on a light-colored cloth. If you see rust-brown spots on the cloth, these are the excretions of the parasites.
In general, if your pet has a flea infestation, you should seek advice from the veterinarian about suitable means of treatment. So-called spot-ons are very effective. These drops are applied behind the ears or on the neck of the animal so that they cannot be licked off. The active ingredient is then distributed all over the body and kills the parasites.
IMPORTANT: Under no circumstances should you give your pet medication for humans - or your cat with medication for dogs and vice versa. In the worst case scenario, this can lead to death.
Fight fleas in the home
If you identify a flea infestation, act quickly to prevent the parasites from spreading further. Wash your bedclothes, clothes and other textiles in the washing machine at at least 60 degrees Celsius - the larvae of dog and cat fleas die in hot temperatures. Alternatively, you can store delicate textiles in the freezer for a few days.
In particular, you should vacuum your pet's sleeping area, textile furniture, curtains, floors and carpets regularly and thoroughly for a few days. The vacuum cleaner bag must then be disposed of immediately so that the parasites cannot escape. Tip: Use a steam cleaner to kill not only the adult fleas, but also the larvae.
Also treat the boxes and transport baskets for your pet with an anti-flea agent. If the infestation continues after that, it is advisable to call an exterminator.
How to prevent fleas
As a pet owner, there are a few simple things you can do to prevent flea infestation. This includes that dogs and cats are not allowed to go to bed or on the upholstered furniture. This is especially true for animals that are often outdoors.
If an infected animal has access to all rooms, the fleas and their eggs can spread everywhere. Always keep the apartment, especially the floors and hard-to-reach corners and joints, clean. This will prevent the parasites from nesting for a long time.
Also, comb your pet's fur regularly or wash it with an anti-flea shampoo. Flea collars can also ward off the parasites.
Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.
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