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Flea Bites: How Can You Protect and Treat Your Child

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Nov 23, 2023

Flea Bites: How Can You Protect and Treat Your Child

Fleas are an order of small insects that feed on the blood of a host, be it a mouse, dog, cat, or human. When bitten by fleas, you can be infected with some pathogens or have an allergic reaction, which can lead to local dermatitis as well. Flea bites can also be painful. 

Fleas have no wings so they move by jumping. This insect has a very rich species composition. In the Philippines, 34 species of this order have been discovered. To learn more about this condition and know how to recognize and treat it effectively, please continue reading the following article.

General information

What objects can fleas bite?

Both humans and other mammals are at risk of flea bites. Flea bites often cause itching, pain, and discomfort. In addition, this small insect also has the potential to be an intermediary that carries pathogens and transmits them to humans, such as plague.

Getting rid of fleas completely from home is not easy. They can survive for more than 100 days without feeding on the host’s blood. Most of the bites can cause allergies and skin irritation, but not seriously affect human health.

What do flea bites look like?

This bite usually appears around the foot, ankle, or lower leg. If not noticed and kept clean, fleas can move all over the body and leave tracks; anywhere, especially in areas with dense hair.

In most cases, their bite will have the following characteristics:

  • Very small bites on the skin with a red dot in the center
  • Usually appears in groups with three or four bites, sometimes in a long red streak
  • Sometimes the skin is scaly and surrounded by a light red circle

However, some fleas do not leave any marks when biting people, so they go unnoticed.


What are the signs and symptoms of a flea bite?

Most people bitten by fleas have no noticeable signs or symptoms. Overall, this is not a problem to be feared.

When bitten by a flea, you often feel very itchy and the skin around the bite may be painful or stinging. You may get a rash or hives near the bite. In addition, excessive scratching can further damage the skin and cause a secondary bacterial infection to enter and develop.

You may experience other symptoms not mentioned. If you have any questions about the signs of illness, consult your doctor.

When do you need to see a doctor?

You should see your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Swollen lips or face
  • A flea bite can also lead to infection. If the affected person has swollen glands, severe pain around the bite, or excessive redness, see a doctor.

In some cases, fleas will be able to transmit more serious diseases through bites, such as typhus, plague, and cat scratch infections.

What causes flea bites?

Humans are often a flea’s second choice because we are not a suitable host for this insect. Usually, adult fleas only target humans when they are hungry and have not found a suitable animal as a host.

What factors increase the risk of being bitten by a flea?

Having pets in the house increases the risk of being bitten by fleas. However, if you do not have a pet, you are still at risk of being targetted by fleas because they can reside in the yard, doormat, sofas, or other people’s pets.

Fleas prefer to hide in tall grass and shaded floor areas, woodpile or storage areas.

Diagnosis and treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for medical professional advice. Always consult your doctor.

What medical techniques are used to diagnose flea bites?

Most flea bites do not require diagnostics. However, you still need to monitor the bites for early signs of an allergic reaction or infection such as white blisters or a peculiar rash for prompt intervention.

Ways to treat flea bites

Treatments for flea bites can range from simple home remedies to over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Skin cream containing calamine
  • Cortisone
  • Vinegar
  • Antihistamines

To avoid secondary infection, it is important that you do not scratch the bite wound on your skin. The use of flea-bite medications will help relieve itching. In most cases, though, the condition goes away on its own without treatment.

Proper lifestyle

What lifestyle habits help reduce the risk of flea bites?

To find out if you’re at risk for flea bites, check your pets. Find fleas or stings on your pet’s skin by combing their fur upside down. Also, if you notice your pet scratching frequently, it could be a sign that they have fleas on them.

Take your pet to the vet, who may prescribe a topical anti-flea medication. Only then can you get fleas under control, preventing itching and further scratches. To prevent dogs, cats and pets from being re-infected, try a flea collar.

If you have any questions, consult your doctor for the best treatment support.

Learn more about Infectious Diseases in Children here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Nov 23, 2023

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