Flea bites usually occur when you have household pets which spend lots of time indoors, and can serve as hosts to the critters, since animal fur provides ideal cover for them, and animals can also supply the blood which these varmints crave. Dogs and cats are the usual hosts, although other animals may carry fleas as well.
Fleas have special jaws which are capable of cutting right through a person's skin, so they can suck the blood of their victims. Children and young people are especially sensitive to flea bites, and they are also far more likely to develop allergic reactions after being bitten. Of course, not everyone gets bitten by fleas, but if you do, it's extremely important that the affected area is not scratched, because that will only encourage more itching in the area, and it's also possible that the bite can become infected.
Bites from bedbugs look a great deal like mosquito bites, and are often mistaken for them. Bedbugs are nocturnal creatures, and almost always do their biting during the nighttime hours. Bedbugs themselves are much larger than fleas, so they are considerably easier to identify visually because of their bigger size.
When observing bedbug bites and flea bites, it can be fairly easy to detect the difference between them once you've had a little practice at it. The complicating factor is that each of the two can look rather different on people, because everyone reacts differently to being bitten, which means it shows up differently on the skin.
Flea bites have the appearance of a small cluster of dots, while bedbug bites are usually hard, reddish in color, and slightly swollen. Anywhere on the body is fair game for bedbug bites, whereas flea bites are largely limited to the legs and ankles, because it's easier for fleas to get to these locations. Both kinds of bites have the same kind of itching and discomfort factor, and both of them will cause swelling, and possibly trigger allergies. After having identified which kind of critter has bitten you, you will need to manage the bites appearing on your skin, and at the same time, take steps to remove the pests from your home.
For the most part, bites from fleas can be handled at home, as opposed to bedbug bites which generally require professional intervention. The biggest thing to remember about controlling flea bites is to avoid the temptation of scratching them, since that will only make things worse. Once you've identified the red marks on your skin as flea bites, you should clean the affected area with soap and warm water, then dry it off with a clean towel, so that the risk of infection is minimized. Hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion can then be applied to reduce the itching, and the swelling can be reduced by placing cold compresses on the area several times a day.
To prevent flea bites from occurring indefinitely in your household, you will need to eliminate the source of the pests. If you own a pet, that’s probably the number one culprit and source of the fleas, so you should treat the pet with shampoo or a flea-killing product right away. Fleas can reproduce at a tremendous rate, and they live for months after hatching. After having treated your pet, make sure that your pet’s bedding and any carpeted areas are also disinfected with sprays, powders, or foggers. It's even recommended that you follow up with a second treatment to kill any fleas which were missed in the first round.
Bedbugs are flightless pests which sustain themselves by sucking on the blood of animals or humans, and although they're very comfortable in furniture upholstery, they primarily set up shop in your bedding, since it makes feeding at night very convenient. Bites from bedbugs are routinely found on the neck, face, hands, and arms, because these are the parts of the body most exposed during sleep.
The bumps which appear the next day can be swollen, blistered, and itchy, but will generally appear reddish in color. As long as a bedbug bite does not become infected, it doesn't really require any medical attention unless the itching becomes very intense. In this case, a topical steroid cream or hydrocortisone will help to relieve the discomfort to a large extent.
To deal with an infestation of bedbugs, the most effective course of action is to retain the services of a pest control expert, because bedbugs are extremely adaptive and resistant to any attempts to exterminate them. If you do attempt to use insecticides or sprays, you'll have to make sure to apply them to virtually every place in the home where bugs might find a hiding place.
If you find that bedbugs have invaded your mattress or your bed, it's very likely that you'll have to discard it immediately, because it's virtually impossible to have the pests removed from those objects. Experts at pest control are familiar with all hiding places bedbugs use to avoid extermination, and they can ensure that all these areas are treated, so as to eliminate the problem.
Bedbug bites and flea bites might have many of the same attributes - in that they look alike on your skin to some extent, and they cause very noticeable discomfort with itching - but there’s a huge difference in how each of them should be treated on your skin, and in your home. This makes it extremely important that you correctly identify whether you’ve been bitten by fleas or by bedbugs, so that you take the right approach in trying to alleviate the skin distress that you feel, and so that the pests can be eliminated from your home effectively and permanently.