Ease the Itch: Remedies for Flea Bites
So You Found Fleas?
If your house is anything like my house, the pecking order goes something like:
It is no surprise dogs and cats are high ranking members of the family. They are loyal friends, good company, and above all, significantly fluffier than their human counterparts. However, our friendly pets are not without their downsides which is, in fact, what this article is about. One of the least pleasurable parts of pets... FLEAS. Everyone knows that prevention is the key when it comes to fleas but sometimes, no matter what you do, a few pesky fleas will find their way in. So - what can you do about it?
Flea bites are particularly itchy bug bites. The bites are small red bumps, much like mosquito bites, but will have a hard spot in the middle of them. Fleas like to bite around large areas of exposed skin and you will often find bites around your ankles, stomach, and legs. People are sensitive to the saliva of fleas (again, much like mosquitoes) and that is what causes the itch. Scratching is not recommended as it will spread the allergen in the saliva around and just cause more itching. Flea bites can last 6-10 days before completely healing so you’ll want to do whatever you can to reduce their symptoms.
- Immediately upon noticing the bites, wash the infected area with lukewarm water and a mild soap. You do not want to dry out the skin as this could cause more itching so avoid very hot water or fragranced soaps.
- To start reducing the inflammation right away, hold an ice pack to the reddened skin, ten minutes on and ten minutes off, for about an hour.
- To further reduce the inflammation and to ease the itch, you can use several over the counter products.
- You can use Calamine lotion or Hydrocortisone cream for the itch and if that isn’t enough you can also take an oral antihistamine like Benadryl. Watch out though, the antihistamines can cause drowsiness.
If you’re in the market for natural home remedies there are quite a few out there. Many are more hype and sales than anything else. Be wary of home remedies if you can't find a solid user base of people saying they work online. Often home remedies can cause more harm than good. That being said, particularly with flea bites, there are a number of home remedies that can help.
- Just like with chickenpox, a lukewarm oatmeal bath can help cure the redness and reduce the itch.
- Tea is a natural antioxidant that can be applied in bathwater or you can press a used teabag to the bites directly.
- Many people have found success with aloe which is a natural healing substance found inside the leaves of the aloe Vera plant.
Get Rid of the Source
Besides treating the bites you’re going to have to find the source of the fleas and eradicate them. Fleas reproduce with amazing speed, so don't waste any time in getting rid of them. How to get rid of fleas is something I could write books about (and likely will), but won't do here. If you need to get rid of fleas, I suggest looking on sites like the CDC or dBugger for answers. Happy hunting!