There are many animals in this world and each plays an important role in our daily lives. Namely, dogs, cats, cows, and humans. Each of these animals has fleas that can affect the health of the animal in many ways. In some cases, these fleas can also affect those which frequently interact with the animals who have fleas. As it turns out, there is a correlation between dog and flea bites, and human bites. That is to say that people have been known to have reactions to flea bites because a lot of the time the allergic reaction that humans have to dog fleas and cat fleas is pretty much the same thing. As pet-owners, it is our responsibility to keep our pets free from any harm. However, despite our best efforts, a number of diseases can still be transmitted from animals to humans. Most of these are spread via flea bites, and fleas are a common parasite in dogs and cats. As many as 40% of dogs and 20% of cats in the United States are reported as having fleas (1). This statistic is unsurprising, as fleas can lay up to 50 eggs a day. A female flea can produce up to 2,000 eggs in her lifetime (2). All fleas are parasitic insects that feed off of their host’s blood (3). They reproduce quickly and those that infest pets’ coats pass on diseases easily. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the chances of a flea infestation. Fleas are blood-sucking parasites that feed on the body fluids of humans, dogs and cats. Irritation and itching depend upon the number of fleas present. Treatment using basic household chemicals like soaps and detergents will control any home infestation. Prescription drugs to repel and kill clear any infected area is the idea. The bubonic plague is commonly known as the ‘Black Death’, which was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history. It first began spreading in China and later started expanding in Europe. The disease was brought to Europe by rats that were transported by ships. Fleas on these rats fed on the blood of humans and spread the disease. This was how the bubonic plague devastated European cities in such a large scale during the mid-1300’s.
Can Fleas Affect Humans
It is important to note that humans are not their preferred hosts. Although flea eggs can be found in the bedding of your pets, the incidence of a flea infestation on humans is low due to their lack of fur and because they can’t make it very far up a human body. The females will typically lay her eggs in bedding or carpeting where they can attach themselves to pet hair. Pet bedding should be washed regularly, and vacuumed carpets should be emptied outside into a container with soapy water before being brought back inside.
Facts about fleas
Fleas are small brown wingless insects, which can jump high. They are parasites as they feed on blood from the hosts.
They are commonly found on dogs, cats, rodents and rabbits; however, they can infest human homes too. Fleas live in environments that offer ease of movement. This includes carpets and pet beddings; therefore, it is easier for them to hop their way into human homes by clinging onto birds, rodents or pets.
Fleas that bite people leave itchy red bumps that can sometimes appear in clusters. It is important to note that flea bites are similar to the bites of other insects, so a person may need to use the information below to determine whether they have been bitten by a flea.
The size and reactions vary between individuals and may depend on a person’s sensitivity or allergic reaction. Some people show no reaction at all.
A doctor will usually make the diagnosis based on:
- symptoms (such as red spots) with or without scratching
- signs visible on the skin
Allergic reaction to flea saliva
Some people experience an allergic reaction to flea bites or flea saliva. This is called flea allergy dermatitis, or FAD.
It’s possible for anyone who has been bitten by a flea to develop this allergy, however it is most common in young animals and in pets with atopic dermatitis.
Once a person is sensitized, the reaction from future fleabites will be exaggerated. These reactions are often characterized by extreme itchiness and visible skin irritation, including redness, hair loss and scabs. A small percentage of people can also have severe allergic reactions—anaphylaxis—to insect bites, so if you are experiencing difficulty breathing or other severe symptoms, seek medical attention immediately!
Cat scratch fever (Mild infection)
Cat scratch disease is a mild infection that can occur after scratch, bite, or lick of an infected feline. Its symptoms include headache, fever, and fatigue; occasionally swollen lymph nodes and blisters may appear around the area where the animal first made contact with your body.
This disease is treatable with antibiotics. The risk of fatality is rare but still possible. You can avoid contracting cat scratch fever by not touching stray cats or fleas, who also carry Bartonella (the bacteria responsible for this disease).
Bubonic Plague (Serious infection)
Fleas can carry and transmit the bacteria that cause bubonic plague. The condition is usually caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis, which fleas pick up from infected animals.
Humans can catch bubonic plague from flea bites or from contact with infected animals, such as cats and rodents. If humans do not receive treatment for it they can die as a result of infection, although this is rare in modern times.
Antibiotics are an effective treatment for bubonic plague if they are administered early enough after symptoms appear. People who live in higher-risk areas may be advised to take antibiotics regularly to reduce their risk of catching the disease even if they have no current symptoms.
The best way to prevent human infections with Yersinia pestis is to control the numbers of fleas and other insects that spread it, along with managing populations of infected animal species such as rats and cats.
A tapeworm is a parasite that attaches itself to the walls of your intestines to absorb nutrients from the food you consume. Humans can develop tapeworms when they ingest infected fleas or other creatures that have been infested with larvae. Signs and symptoms of a tapeworm infection include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. Because these symptoms can indicate many different types of illnesses, it’s important to know that if you are displaying any or all of these signs but have not been diagnosed with a specific illness your doctor should test for parasites like tapeworms.
If you do have an intestinal infection caused by this type of parasite, you may be prescribed certain medications to kill the worm and its eggs. In some cases, doctors will prescribe more than one anti-parasitic medication; however, in instances where there are no symptoms present, some doctors may choose not to treat patients who are infected with only one type of worm as opposed to multiple ones.
Fleas can affect humans, but they usually don’t.
Fleas can affect humans, but they usually don’t. Fortunately, there are very few cases of fleas transmitting diseases from animals to people. If you’re worried about treating your pet for fleas, a vet should be able to offer advice on what kind of products are safe to use and how often you’ll need to treat your pet for them.
- The name in flea & tick protection trusted by pet owners for over 20 years, this waterproof, fast-acting flea and tick treatment kills fleas, flea eggs, lice, and ticks, including those that may transmit Lyme disease.
- Designed for use only with cats and kittens, this long-lasting treatment is made for cats eight weeks or older, weighing 1.5 pounds or more.
- Made with two active ingredients, fipronil and (S)-methoprene, this treatment stops infestations and prevents new ones.
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- One dose of FRONTLINE Plus lasts 30 days.
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