Flea Bites On Babies

Flea bites on babies appear as central red in groups of three or four. If your baby gets multiple bites, the wounds can get infections. Fleas are tiny insects that stay outdoors mostly but can also live indoors.

Pets and wild animals nesting around your home attract fleas. They can be difficult to eliminate once they invade and can stay for over 100 days without a host. Although they do not have wings, these pests have long hind legs designed for jumping.

They reproduce rapidly and live in grass, carpets, and fabrics. Their bites trigger allergic reactions which get itchy and painful.

Why Fleas Bite

Humans are not primary targets for fleas to bite because we are not suitable hosts. Pets are their primary target. Fleas only bite humans when hungry or if they have not found a family pet. If your baby crawls near an adult flea that has just come out of its cocoon, they become their first meal.

Flea species that bite humans include:

  • Human flea: found globally and feeds on various mammals and birds.
  • Chigoe flea: it’s also referred to as a jigger but rarely found in the US. Female lays eggs in the host skin and cannot be removed without surgery.
  • Oriental rat flea: commonly feeds on rats and humans. It has been found to spread various diseases.
  • Cat flea: majorly found in the US and bites those who have handled infested pets.

How to distinguish flea bites from mosquito and beg bugs

Most people worry about bedbugs and mosquitoes. When you get bitten, you rarely assume it comes from fleas. It’s essential to know their differences to avoid addressing the wrong symptoms during treatment.

Flea bites appear as tiny bumps within a small area of inflamed skin. In most cases, these bites occur at home during an infestation.

Bedbug bites are very similar to mosquito bites. They leave large raised irritated skin surfaces. However, mosquito bites are large with no pattern.

Mosquito bites usually occur at night or during sunset while flea bites can happen at any time.

Symptoms of Flea Bites

Babies are innocent and eager to discover new things. This means they may wander to flea infested areas where they may get bitten. Your baby may not know how to respond, but many express pain and suffering by crying. Flea bites on your children can cause severe health problems if not managed on time so it's important to check your baby’s body regularly. Whenever you identify flea bites, take early precautions to cure them early. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Red, conspicuous or swollen welts on your baby’s skin
  • Red conjoined patches measuring up to 2cm in diameter on your baby’s skin
  • Hives
  • Rashes
  • Swelling around the bite

Usually, fleas bite arms, legs, and feet since they are the most accessible body parts. Some babies are excessively sensitive to flea bites resulting in allergic reactions. Primary symptoms of allergic reactions to flea bites on babies include nausea, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and swelling of the tongue or lips. Get in touch with your doctor immediately you see symptoms of allergic reactions.

Risk Conditions From Flea Bites

Fleas are not known to cause extensive health complications. Nonetheless, there are risk factors that make flea bites on infants quite hazardous. Wheezing, chest pains, swelling of lips or tongue, and breath shortness are some signs.

Some children are allergic to proteins present in flea saliva which causes an allergic reaction on a larger area of their skin. The bites are usually surrounded by swollen skin and a halo of red. These swollen areas feel itchy, and scratching may result in infections.

Allergic dermatitis may also arise from flea bites. Therefore, consult your pediatrician before applying any allergy reducing or anti-itching medication on your baby.

Fleas can also transmit tapeworms. Their larvae ingest tapeworm eggs. When flea matures, pets eat the infected pests during grooming and the tapeworms hatch in the animal’s intestine.

Other diseases that can get transmitted by fleas to your infant include:

  • Bartonellosis
  • Tungiasis
  • Plague
  • Typhus

How to Avoid Flea Bites

Most fleas are attracted into the house by your pets. Therefore, the best way of preventing getting bitten is to prevent the pests from infesting your pets. You can start by:

  • Preventing your pets from interacting with other animals infested by fleas
  • Mow your lawn often and cut the grass short
  • Keep your pets away from under sheds, decks, and parts of your home that are challenging to treat.

Moreover, ensure your pet bedding is clean by washing in hot water frequently. Use a suitable flea comb to inspect and remove fleas on your pet’s fur. Dust all furniture and dry clean fabric and curtains on a routine basis. Vacuum rugs, carpets, and upholstered furniture in places where pets stay most of the time. Do not leave out areas under sofas, beds, and behind furniture when cleaning the house.

It is also advisable to use flea preventive medicine on a monthly basis on your pet. Some of the most common medicine includes Advantix, Sentinel, Advantage, Revolution, and Frontline. Nonetheless, talk to your veterinarian about the most viable products for your pet. It is easier to get rid of fleas before they spread to the rest of your house.

When taking your baby to the beach, take protective measures to ensure they are safe from sand fleas. You can achieve this through:

  • Use lounges and chairs in place of towels and blankets when sunbathing on the sand.
  • Insect repellent with DEET can prevent fleas from biting your baby.
  • Stay away from seaweed since it is a favorite food for sand fleas.
  • Wear closed shoes and socks whenever you purpose to walk on the beach.

Dangers of Flea Bites

Yersinia pestis

Although primary effects of flea bites are itchiness and scratching that may lead to infections, they are also associated with other hazards. These dangers arise due to the disease-carrying nature of the pests. Yersinia pestis is a type of bacteria that is spread by fleas. This bacterium causes ‘black plague’, a deadly disease that can kill millions of people.

Bubonic plague

The pathogen that causes bubonic plague is proven to be transmitted by fleas. Wild rodents are significant carriers that infect fleas that bite them. Rapid reproduction rate of the bacteria blocks the digestive system of the fleas causing them to bite frequently to avoid starvation. The disease may then get to your baby via flea bites since the pests regurgitate infected blood on bite wounds.

Symptoms of bubonic plague may become noticeable within a week after flea bites. They include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joints weakness
  • Headaches
  • Painful swollen lymph nodes (buboes)

How to Treat Flea Bites

Flea bites on your baby are preventable with the right treatment. Some cosmetics including baby soaps and lotions are helpful. These products can also be applied to your baby’s body whenever you detect red bumps.

Natural home remedies

A cold or hot compress with ice is quite sufficient to suppress the pain of flea bites. In case of itchiness, Aloe Vera lotions are useful in the removal of the scratch of the bite. Administration of baking soda solution using cotton wool and a body massage for the baby is also another remedy for pain relief.

Other home remedies that apply to the treatment of flea bites include:

  • Rubbing alcohol around affected areas to dry bites.
  • Applying witch hazel on the skin to suppress itchiness.
  • Using tea tree oil to relieve itching.
  • 1-part white vinegar diluted in 1-part water can offer temporary relief for the flea bites on your baby.
  • Applying cooled used teabags around the affected area relieves inflammation.
  • Cool used teabags for some time in the freezer and apply on the bite to ease inflammation.

Ensure that your baby does not scratch itchy areas of the skin. They can create open wounds that give way to bacteria to enter the body causing infections.

Other Treatment Remedies

Hydrocortisone cream is helpful in the removal of red bumps. Almond oil and tea tree oil protect your baby from further infections. Also, you can get some flea free lotion from the nearest pharmacy. However, don’t use it on your baby’s hands to avoid ingestion.

Antihistamine medication and calamine lotion are the other treatment remedies that you can use to suppress the effects of flea bites.

When To Call a Doctor

These remedies are proven to work in reducing effects and symptoms of flea bites on your baby. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult a doctor if the condition and symptoms get worse even after administering them. Also, see your doctor if the affected area turns dark.

Flea bites on babies are quite dangerous but easy to prevent. Once you are aware of all symptoms and causes, implement necessary steps to mitigate.