Flea bite: symptoms, treatments and risks
When we talk about fleas, the first thing we usually think about is the image of an animal infested by these creatures , often a dog or a cat, scratching continuously before the itching.
But not only these animals can suffer the flea bite, but it is also easy to infest human beings. In this article let's talk about precisely the flea bite and what it supposes .
This is how fleas are
Fleas are small insects, usually between one and seven millimeters in length , which are part of the order of the siphonaptera or insects without wings. Its body is hard and resistant, having a relatively small head in comparison to the rest of the organism. They have long and strong hind legs that allow them to make large jumps, this being the main mechanism by which they move and jump from one organism to another.
They are parasitic insects that feed mainly on the blood of other animals, especially mammals. For this they have jaws in the shape of a saw that allow to generate a tear of the skin through which they can be nourished. In the case of females they need this blood to get to lay eggs, which they do frequently throughout their lives.
The eggs are usually arranged in the host, while the mother flea disposes small fecal remains in which it provides digested blood that can nourish the future larva. There are numerous species of flea, being able to find differences with respect to their morphology or to the type of species to which they infect .
Flea bite: symptoms
Fleas bite to feed other animals, mostly mammals. In this sense they are frequent in animals such as dogs, cats, rats or horses. But they can also bite humans and jump from one species to another. Its sting tends to be performed on the extremities (especially the lower ones), at least in humans. The sting in question can be painful .
Once produced it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between flea bites and those of other insects. In this aspect the fleas own are characterized by easy bleeding before scratching (in fact it is common to find traces of blood in clothing or sheets when the bites are in humans) and to be arranged in rows, since these beings tend to go moving in different points to chop instead of focusing on a single area.
The reaction of our skin to the bite of a flea is usually rapid, appearing in a few minutes. There is usually a small lump with a point in the center (where the flea has pierced the skin), which It generates a high level of itching or itching and a reddening of the area . The area is often inflamed (and not just the bite itself).
A possible complication of the flea bite is the appearance of a skin infection, which is often accompanied by fever and other typical symptoms of infection such as fever or tiredness. Occasionally, severe cases could lead to anemia.
Another possible complication is that which occurs in people who are allergic to their bite, which could cause the presence of blisters and skin rashes, emotional sensitivity, fatigue, diarrhea or respiratory problems that could lead to anaphylactic shock.
Some diseases transmitted by fleas
As a general rule, the bite of a flea is annoying but usually does not cause major complications. However, as with mosquitoes, there is a danger that they may carry some type of virus or bacteria that may transmit some type of disease.
Not in vain, it was the bite of the fleas that caused the contagion and expansion of one of the greatest pandemics in history: the Black Death. . This disease was introduced in Europe by the fleas of rats that traveled on boats, through the transmission of the bacteria Yersinia pestis, and caused the death of between thirty and sixty percent of the population throughout the territory by the one that expanded (at that time most of the known world).
Although the bubonic plague (which generated buboes and caused significant inflammation of the lymph nodes) is the one that generated the most pandemic and the most common and known, the truth is that there are also pneumonic plague, neurological plague and septicemic plague. Although at present it is not considered the pandemic that once was, there are still some cases of this disease.
Apart from the plague, it has been seen that flea bites can transmit diseases such as typhus or leishmaniasis, among many others. You can also introduce tapeworm or tapeworm eggs if the flea is ingested accidentally or voluntarily (for example by some children). These diseases can be transmitted within the same species or passed on to others, not being impossible to transmit from animal to human or vice versa.
Generally the flea bite per se is not treated or treated unless it is accompanied by allergic or other symptoms. . Usually no treatment is received, with the possible exception of the application of cream. In cases of allergy the use of antihistamines will reduce symptoms. It may be necessary to inject epinephrine in cases of anaphylactic shock and / or the use of glucocorticoids. If any type of bacteria has been transmitted, antibiotic medication will tend to be used.
What is important is prevention: the hygiene of the environment and of the person and / or pets will hinder the possibility of infestation. It is also essential to take vaccines of both people and animals daily so that certain diseases can not be transmitted to them. In pets, it is recommended to use pipettes that prevent fleas from approaching. Special precautions must be taken with pregnant women and children, since they are at greater risk.