Can people get fleas? In short, the answer is yes but it’s not their preferred diet. However, if there are no pets around and you are their only option for a meal, then you will look like a delicious roast chicken, complete with side dishes and gravy so prepare to be bitten! Even if you don’t have pets, learn how to protect yourself!
Fleas are opportunists when it comes to finding their meals. They usually prefer animal blood but they will think you look rather tasty if your cuddly pets are not available. In addition to suffering from a flea bite, fleas can also use people as their transport. That being said, there is a species of flea that is commonly found on humans (Pulex Irritans) and they can cause rather painful inflammation on the skin when they bite, especially if you suffer from allergies. In fact, these fleas can use your blood as their primary diet, even if you don’t have any pets. Quite a scary thought! Regardless of how they find their meal, female fleas need a constant supply otherwise they cannot lay eggs, which is an important part of their reproductive cycle.
Can People Get Fleas from Dogs or Cats?
Realistically, dog or cat owners usually have dealt with a flea problem in the past. You may have a removal method for fleas on dogs or perhaps a special cat flea treatment but while treating your pet, have you considered the possibility that they may make a temporary move onto your skin? Well the good news is that fleas on your pets usually stay on your pets. However, if you start applying flea powder, spot on treatments and other natural solutions to your animal’s skin, they can often jump off like a ninja and land on your skin, ready to continue their meal that you so rudely interrupted. I have had this happen a number of times, sometimes I have even noticed this happen visibly on a pet that has a lot of fleas before treatment. When I treat fleas on my pets, I usually chuck my clothes in a hot wash and take a shower, just to be on the safe side as dog fleas on people sucks!
Fleas will always try and find a warm area with exposed skin, which frequently leads them to your upper back and armpit region. Of course, this is definitely not the only place that they can be found but when I find flea bites on my skin or on others, these are commonly targeted areas. Fleas can also jump onto our pets once we come into contact with them. Remember, even if you don’t have any pets, fleas can often be found on rats and even birds!
Human Fleas – Can They Get in Your Hair?
Since fleas enjoy the warmth and protection that fur provides them on your pet, your hair is a juicy target. However, unlike your dog or cat, you are not completely covered in hair (hopefully) and thus it’s unlikely that fleas will find their way onto your head, unless they get lucky and land on it. Even if they do manage to get there, if you have even the slightest bit of hygiene, a hot shower will get rid of them so it’s extremely rare for fleas to “set up shop” in your hair.
The only time that I have seen somebody continuously find fleas in their hair was when the person allowed their dog to sleep on their bed, even though there was a visible flea problem. They even asked me “can people get fleas??” with an absolutely shocked voice, it was rather funny! While it was rather easy to resolve, just make sure that you don’t make the same mistake and it’s unlikely that you will ever unknowingly host a flea party in your hair.
Are Your Children Safe from Fleas?
If you have a newly discovered flea problem in your home or on your pets, I always encourage parents to keep an eye out for any red marks on their kids. While they could be a result of other insects or even just a nasty bump from another object, it’s often a sign of a flea presence. I have found that children tend to get bitten more frequently than adults as they often play with family pets on a regular basis. In order for flea bites to be dangerous however, a massive amount is required so you don’t need to stress.
A major area of concern is very young children. During their early years, children spend a large amount of time on the floor and seem to have the desire to put everything in their mouth. This can often go unnoticed, even for the most discerning parent. Since fleas can carry tapeworm parasites, if your child manages to somehow swallow one, there is a high chance that they could develop an infection and will need to be treated with the necessary medication, given to you by your doctor of course. I encourage you to share this fact with anyone who has pets and a baby in the home.
Can Humans Get Sick from Fleas?
Despite their diet of blood, it’s a common misconception that fleas carry AIDS or HIV. If you have anyone that thinks this is true, please share this important piece of info with them! It’s very rare for house fleas, especially those that feed on your pets, to carry any sort of dangerous diseases. However, it’s interesting to note that the bacteria called Yersinia pestis (that caused the Black Plague) was carried by the fleas that fed on diseased rats and mice. While this is not major issue now, it’s definitely proof that sometimes the bites from fleas can be dangerous and if you have any adverse reactions in addition to swelling and tingling skin, please seek medical attention to ensure your safety. It’s highly likely that your doctor will simply give you a cortisone medication to reduce the allergic reaction but it’s possible that other symptoms will be noticed and potential problems can then be avoided (such as flea allergy dermatitis). Lastly, as mentioned earlier, tapeworm is also a concern and I recommend taking a deworming tablet after suffering from a major flea outbreak in the home, especially if it has been a lingering problem for a couple weeks.
Still Suffering from a Flea Problem? Here Are Some Suggestions
The Bug Squad has a number of other flea guides on this subject but let’s take a moment to look at a few quick tips for flea removal.
- Your first priority is to reduce their numbers as they can start to spread exponentially once there are a large amount of them in your home. You can do this by using a flea bomb with an IGR chemical to kill the adult fleas and to stop a flea egg from hatching into larvae. Remember to keep the family and pets out the home for the day. Arab Pest Control has recommended giving the home a good vacuum in the morning, before using any flea products in your home. Also, some flea foggers require you to leave the residue for 24 hours before cleaning it up so make sure that you follow the instructions carefully.
- Before letting your darling pets back into the home, make sure that you get rid of their fleas as well. Once they are completely gone, you can let them in again. Please don’t use any pet flea medication on humans. Although people can get pet fleas, using it on yourself can make you very sick. It’s also helpful to hot wash their bedding and other things blankets, etc.
- Lastly, if you are fighting a losing battle against the flea war machine, contact your local exterminator to give you a hand with the removal process.
In conclusion, people can get fleas and while it’s more common to find them on dogs and cats, you should take the necessary steps to ensure that you keep them away, especially from younger children. While people can get sick from flea bites, most people just get an allergic reaction. However, always keep an eye out for signs of complications! If you have any questions about dealing with fleas or perhaps something you would like to share with the visitors of this blog about your flea experiences, please feel free to leave a comment below!