Fleas feed off the blood of humans and animals such as dogs and cats. A flea bite is intensely itchy and secondary infections are common. Treatment options include anaesthetic creams and icepacks to reduce the swelling. Fleas can transmit disease including tapeworm larvae and murine typhus.


The three main species of flea that infest humans are:

  • cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis)

  • dog flea (Ctenocephalides canis)

  • human flea (Pulex irritans).


The cat and dog flea are common in Australia. A flea bite is intensely itchy and secondary infections caused by scratching are common.


Symptoms of a flea bite


The bite of a flea has certain features, including:

  • It is extremely itchy.

  • A red, swollen weal develops within half an hour of the bite.

  • After a day or so, the weal (lump) may develop into a blister or small wound.

  • The legs and feet are often targeted.

  • Secondary infections caused by scratching are common.

  • Some people may become hypersensitive (very sensitive) to bites.


Physical characteristics of the flea


A flea:

  • is wingless, oval shaped and around 2 to 8mm long

  • is light to deep brown in colour

  • has a disproportionately small head

  • has six legs

  • has large hind legs that enable them to jump long distances.




Treating your house for fleas


. Some general suggestions on eliminating fleas yourself include:

  • Clean animal bedding and the general surrounds thoroughly.

  • Vacuum the carpets. Throw away the vacuum cleaner bag, since it will contain fleas and eggs, or use a surface spray into the bag.

  • Use an appropriate spray or ‘flea bomb’ in your house, taking care to follow the label directions carefully.

  • Treat outdoor areas commonly used by your pet, such as kennels, with appropriate insecticides, wearing gloves and long-sleeved protective clothing as instructed on the label.

  • Repeat the procedure once or twice, since flea eggs can survive for some weeks.

  • Maintain hygiene practices (regular vacuuming, keeping pets free of fleas and so on) to prevent another infestation.

  • A persistent infestation may need to be treated by a qualified pest control operator.


Source: Better Health Channel




Professional flea control treatment


A qualified pest controller can determine the type, source and extent of the infestation, then use registered insecticides to control the fleas. Good hygiene practices, such as frequent house cleaning, should reduce the risk of further infestations.