Fleas

Fleas are flightless, yellowish brown insects that are approx.

Overview

Fleas are flightless, yellowish brown insects that are approx. 3mm long. They live by consuming blood, for which they bite their host. This causes the typical itchy bites on the skin, visible as punctiform areas of bleeding, with a halo around the bite centre. Sometimes the bites appear in a row. Fleabites should not be scratched. If fleas are suspected, the environment and pets should be inspected.

Symptoms

  • Bites (fleas feeding on blood)
    • Punctiform areas of bleeding with a halo around the bite centre
    • Usually several bites in groups
    • Sometimes the bites also appear in rows
  • Severe itching
Complications
  • Bacterial superinfection of the scratched skin (purulent)
  • Transmission of various diseases, e.g. typhus, bubonic plague (outside Europe)

Causes and treatment

Cause

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Examination of the skin
Possible therapies
  • Lotio Alba or menthol solution
  • Topical hydrocortisone cream, if necessary
  • For severe itching: antihistamine tablets

What can I do myself?

  • Don't scratch, risk of infection
  • Apply insect repellent
  • Pets
    • Take them to the vet
    • Inspect pets’ bedding and toys
    • Put flea collars on them, if necessary
  • Inspect the environment
    • Furniture
    • Rooms
    • Soft toys, etc.
  • Boil wash bed linen and clothes
  • Textiles that can't be washed: store them in the freezer for several days

When to see a doctor?

Synonyms

fleas, flea, human flea, cat flea, dog flea, rat flea, Pulex irritans

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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