Fleas are a common spring and summer problem for many people, especially those with pets. And unfortunately, fleas don’t only target your dogs and cats; they can live indoors and bite you and your children. Fortunately, fleas are not known to carry diseases, and while there is a small chance of a flea bite becoming infected, they are more of a nuisance than anything else.
The best strategy with fleas is prevention. Animals, including cats and dogs, should be treated with flea prevention medicine and/or shampoos and powders, according to your veterinarian’s recommendations. There are a number of effective flea-control strategies on the market, and if your animals don’t have fleas, it’s very unlikely your house will have fleas.
If your child is bitten by a flea, it can be hard to recognize at first. Flea bites usually occur around the ankles or feet (or anywhere that’s near the ground). They are easily mistaken for other types of insect bites or rash. Flea bites appear as small red dots that may scab over when scratched but do not form blisters. If you press them, the skin around them will usually look white.
The most common symptom of flea bites is itching. You can usually control the itching by applying cool compresses and hydrocortisone cream to the bites. Discourage your child from scratching because this can introduce bacteria to the site and lead to infection, which will need medical treatment.
Fleas can also cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, transmit tapeworm, and even transmit bubonic plague in very rare cases. To safeguard the health of your child as well as your pets, it is important to control any flea problem you may have in your home. Your veterinarian should be able to help you with treatment strategies.
Reviewed by Dr. Eva Benmeleh, September 2020
- Fleas on pets can also bite your children.
- Flea bites may be mistaken for chicken pox, but a flea bite will turn white when pressed and won’t blister like chicken pox.
- Flea bites can become infected if scratched, so treat them with hydrocortisone cream to calm the itching.
- Fleas can rarely transmit tapeworm and other infections to children.