Fleas are a kind of wingless parasite. They are very common in Australia. They feed off blood of human beings and animals like cats and dogs. Since fleas make use of different hosts, diseases may be transferred from one host to the other. After all, fleas are basically known to transmit tapeworm larvae and murine typhus disease.
The three typical species, which infest human beings include the cat flea, the dog flea and the human flea. Dog and cat flea are quite common in Australia. Their bites are very itchy and secondary infections are often caused by scratching them.
Physical characteristics of flea
- Oval shaped, wingless and around 2-8 mm in length
- Disproportionately small head
- Six legs
- Large hind legs, which allow them to jump long distances
- Light to deep brown in colour
Blood feeding by the fleas
Adult fleas may survive for a few months without feeding. It makes use of its saw-like mandibles for cutting through the skin, generally on accessible parts of body like the feet or legs. Flea saliva contains anticoagulants for encouraging blood to keep flowing. The female fleas are prompted to lay eggs after feeding. Larvae cocoon themselves within weeks of hatching. Vibration like footsteps prompts adult fleas for emerging from the cocoons. This is why you can be bitten after coming in to a house, which has been unoccupied for quite some time.
Symptoms of flea bite
Flea bites have certain features like:
- They are very much itchy
- A swollen, red weal develops within 30 minutes to 1 hour after the bite
- After 1 day or so, the weal can develop into a small wound or blister
- Feet and legs are often targeted
- Secondary infections are often caused by scratching
- Some people become hypersensitive to the bites
Treatment for flea bites
- Try not to scratch
- Wash the bites with an antiseptic soap for reducing the risk of infection
- Apply icepack frequently to get relieve from the swelling
- Use anaesthetic creams or calamine lotion to treat the itching
How to treat your house for fleas?
- Clean the bedding of animal and general surrounds in a thorough way.
- Vacuum carpets
- Thoroughly treat the outdoor areas that are used by your pets
- Maintain hygiene practices in order to prevent the infestation
- A persistent infestation need to be treated by a professional pest controller
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