Flea Bite Hypersensitivity in Dogs — Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Flea Bite Hypersensitivity in Dogs

Most Common Symptoms

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What is Flea Bite Hypersensitivity?

Flea bite hypersensitivity, also called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is the most common skin disease of dogs in the United States. According to studies, there are more than 15 antigens present in the saliva of a flea of which can cause an allergic response in your dog if she is sensitive to it. While flea control has improved, flea bite allergies and dermatitis are a common issue, with studies showing that up to 40% of dogs in a particular area will test positive for an allergy to flea bites.

Those dogs that are not allergic will usually not develop lesions from the bites, though they may bite or scratch at the flea as it bites them. Since dogs do not become desensitized to flea bites after an allergy develops, you will want to do your best to prevent them from being bitten by fleas. It does not appear that a particular breed or gender of dog is more likely to be allergic.

Flea bite hypersensitivity can be seen in any adult dog that is over one year of age, with many cases occurring between ages one and three.

Flea bite hypersensitivity occurs when your dog has a reaction to flea bites, experiencing itchiness and redness of the skin.

Symptoms of Flea Bite Hypersensitivity in Dogs

Symptoms of a flea bite allergy appear to be worse in the summer and fall, which are peak flea times. Should your dog have a flea allergy, you will see her bite at the base of her tail and scratch herself often and with intensity. In many cases, there will be a loss or thinning of hair above the base of the tail. Fleas themselves or their feces are often found on your dog, though if you bathe your dog often this may not be the case. In a severe case, your dog can itch all over her body, experience generalized hair loss and display red, inflamed skin. You may also observe hot spots when your dog is having a flea allergy.

  • Intense scratching
  • Hair loss
  • Presence of flea feces
  • Inflamed skin


Some dogs are extremely hypersensitive to flea bites. In these dogs, they may be completely free of fleas as a result of self-grooming excessively. Because of the self-grooming, it may be difficult to find the presence of fleas or feces on your dog. A fine-toothed flea comb (32 teeth/inch) can be used to find fleas and their feces and you can also look closely at your dog’s bedding for eggs, larvae and feces.

Causes of Flea Bite Hypersensitivity in Dogs

Should your dog have flea bite hypersensitivity, she does not have to be infested with fleas to experience significant itchiness; only one flea bite can cause itchiness for a few days.

Diagnosis of Flea Bite Hypersensitivity in Dogs

Should you notice that your dog is scratching herself more than usual, you may consider a trip to the veterinarian so that she may be examined and receive some relief. Your veterinarian will ask you for information the symptoms you have observed and when you first noticed them. He will conduct a full physical examination of your dog; allergies to flea bites can be diagnosed through the observation of symptoms and in some cases the presence of fleas. Intradermal skin testing has been found to be effective in diagnosing a flea allergy, along with specialized blood tests (IgE blood tests).

Treatment of Flea Bite Hypersensitivity in Dogs

When treating flea bite hypersensitivity, your veterinarian will recommend both topical and oral medications that are able to be used for the control of fleas. An adulticide will eliminate the adult fleas, and an insect growth regulator (IGR) will help eliminate immature forms of the flea. This means that they will not reach adulthood and bite your dog in the future. Your veterinarian will take into consideration how severe your dog’s allergy is, how often she goes outside and willingness of your dog to let you treat her when making a recommendation on treatment. Allergy injections, also known as desensitization, may be helpful though are found to be successful in about half of those dogs with flea bite hypersensitivity. Corticosteroids can be used as they will greatly relieve the itching your dog is experiencing. Since there are major possible side effects, your veterinarian may not consider them the best option for your dog.

You will also want to treat your dog’s environment, to include the indoor and outdoor areas where your dog spends time, particularly the areas where she sleeps. While you may not see symptoms in other pets, you will want to treat them as well, so that they don’t bring fleas around the dog that is allergic.

Recovery of Flea Bite Hypersensitivity in Dogs

Monthly products are available (both oral and topical) that will be helpful in preventing fleas from impacting your dog. Should your dog develop a secondary bacterial skin infection as a result of scratching, your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics. You will then want to keep an eye on the infection to be sure that it is resolved. Once your dog has recovered, you will want to maintain a flea control program to avoid future infestation and allergic reaction.


How to Treat Flea Bites in Humans; 7 Tried & Tested Home Remedies

How to Treat Flea Bites in Humans?: While fleas do not usually feed on humans. But if your pet has brought them home, it is highly likely that you and your family members will be bitten at some point or another. Flea bites can be extremely itchy and cause a lot of discomfort. In rare cases, fleas that come from rodents can result in typhus, an infectious disease. Although this disease is treatable, it can be fatal, particularly when it occurs in young children or patients or the elderly with compromised immunity. Fortunately, there are home remedies that can treat flea bites in humans, soothe itching and prevent allergies and potential infections .

How to treat flea bites in humans

Natural Treatments for Flea Bites in Humans

Here is a look at some of the best natural remedies to treat flea bites in humans:

When fleas bite you, it can not only cause severe itchiness but also swelling and inflammation. This is especially true of those who have sensitive skin. Thankfully, an ice pack can go a long way in relieving these discomforts (especially swelling) and numb the area bitten.

  • Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to the affected area.
  • Leave it on for a few minutes and then remove it.
  • Apply the pack again.
  • Repeat until you get relief from the symptoms.
  • You can also use a bag of frozen peas. Just make sure that you cover it with a towel or dishcloth.

As you know, aloe vera is known for its magical healing powers, especially when it comes to problems that affect the skin. It has been used for centuries to treat everything from pimples and acne to conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Now, you know that you can also use aloe vera to treat flea bites in humans. It effectively helps in easing the redness and swelling that comes with these bites.

  • Scoop out fresh aloe vera gel from a leaf.
  • Apply the gel all over the affected area.
  • Leave it on for a couple of hours.
  • Wash off with water.
  • Repeat 2 times a day for 2 to 3 days or until your condition improves.

3. Rubbing Alcohol

When fleas bite, they leave red, itchy bumps that you often cannot resist scratching. This can cause an open wound to develop. Rubbing alcohol is a superb home remedy that you can use to dry the bites. This in turn can help in preventing an infection from developing. Rubbing alcohol can also relieve the itching and swelling that comes with flea bites.

  • Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball.
  • Apply it all over the affected area and allow it to dry naturally.
  • Repeat as often as necessary until the bites dry up.

Witch hazel is another useful and effective natural remedy for a wide range of skin conditions. It is also great to treat flea bites in humans as it can greatly alleviate itching and keep you from scratching the bites and creating an open wound, which can get infected later on. It can also help get rid of the bacteria that can cause infections. To ease itching and soothe your skin after being bitten by fleas, go for witch hazel.

  • Soak a cotton ball with 1 or 2 teaspoons of witch hazel tincture.
  • Apply it gently all over the affected area and allow it to sit for a couple of hours.
  • Wash off with cool water and pat dry.
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Continue until the bites are gone.

Tea tree oil is an ingredient for home remedies that treat various skin conditions. It has natural properties that can help in relieving the symptoms of flea bites and also prevent infection. It is also extremely effective in relieving itching. Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties that can help with any infection caused by excessive scratching.

  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil.
  • Apply it on the affected area and let it sit for several hours.
  • Wash it off with cool water.
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times a day until the bites are gone.

6. Garlic and Honey

Garlic contains volatile oils like allicin, allinase, and allin and other sulphurous compounds – all of which give the herb its powerful curative properties. Crushed fresh garlic forms allicin, which is the key ingredient that speeds up the healing process. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Honey too is an excellent antibacterial and antimicrobial agent. Together, these two ingredients make a very effective remedy to treat flea bites in humans.

  • Take 2 garlic pods and crush to make a soft paste.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of pure, raw honey and mix well to form a thick paste.
  • Apply it on the areas with flea bites and allow it to sit for a few hours.
  • Repeat this 2 to 3 times a day for 2 to 3 days or until you notice an improvement.

7. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda is a mild alkaline that helps in nullifying the flea bite’s toxic effects and relieving itching. Vinegar, on the other hand, has been used for centuries as a home remedy for treating a wide range of skin inflictions and conditions like eczema. It has a soothing effect on flea bites and helps relieve the pain and itching. When combined, baking soda and vinegar are a great remedy for this condition.

  • Sprinkle some water in 2 teaspoons of baking powder to form a thick paste.
  • Take 1 teaspoon of vinegar and mix with a small amount of water.
  • Add the vinegar mixture to the baking powder paste and mix well.
  • Apply the paste on the affected areas and leave it on for a couple of hours.
  • Repeat 2 times a day for 3 to 4 days.

As mentioned earlier, flea bites are not serious unless you are allergic or have scratched them to the point of creating an open wound, which can let bacteria in and result in an infection. Simple and safe home remedies are effective in treating this problem providing relief from itching, swelling, redness, inflammation, and pain. If you have been bitten by fleas from your pet, treat them quickly with these natural remedies and take quick measures to eliminate these parasites from your furry friend as well. If you happen to know any other tried and tested home remedies that treat flea bites in humans, share them with us!

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A deep rooted passion, writing for me is as much a pleasure as it is business! From remedies to politics, I love breathing in life into the most mundane of topics! When I am not writing, you will often find me either curled up with a book and a bag of fries, or playing with my son of five years and his many transformers and cars! Wanna watch a movie? Ask me for an unbiased review first! If you ask me what I love most, my answer will be quick: Travel, Food, Movies, Music, Writing, Books, and My Son!


Everything you need to know about fleabites

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Fleas are very small insects, about a quarter of an inch in length. They do not have wings, but their long hind legs are designed for jumping. They reproduce quickly and often live in fabrics and carpets.

Human and non-human animals are at risk of fleabites, which can be itchy and painful. Fleas can also carry human diseases. The most famous example of this was the plague.

Owning a pet increases the risk of a flea infestation, but it is not only pet-owners who are at risk. Fleas can enter the home on any fabric or fur. Once in the home, their quick breeding cycle means they can rapidly become a nuisance.

This article covers everything you need to know about fleabites, including how to identify and treat them. This MNT Knowledge Center article will also give advice on keeping your home and pets free of fleas.

Fast facts on fleabites

  • Fleas mainly feed on non-human animals but can bite and infect humans. They can be difficult to remove from the home and can survive for more than 100 days without a host.
  • Bites from fleas can trigger allergic reactions, but they will not often have a serious impact on a person’s health.
  • Fleabites will normally be very small with a central red spot, often appearing in groups of three or four.
  • Blisters form on bed bug bites but not fleabites.
  • Regularly clean and vacuum floors, furniture, bedding, and skirting boards to reduce the risk of flea infestation.

Share on Pinterest Flea bites often appear as groups of small scabs. The pictured example is a severe case.

Fleabites on humans usually appear around the feet, ankles, or legs.

If uncontrolled, fleas can spread across the body and bite anywhere, especially on people with dense areas of hair on their legs or chest.

  • The bites themselves will be very small with a central red spot.
  • They often appear in groups of three or four and sometimes appear in a line.
  • Fleabites will often form a small scab surrounded by a light red halo.

As many fleabites do not produce a reaction in humans, they may well go unnoticed.

How do fleas bite humans?

Humans are often the secondary options when it comes to fleabites, as they do not make good hosts. They tend to become targets for hungry adult fleas who have not yet found the family pet or another, more suitable host.

If an adult or child happens to walk or crawl past an adult flea that has just emerged from its cocoon, they may be the first option for a meal.

Most people will not develop noticeable symptoms from a fleabite. In general, fleas do not carry diseases.

Small children and people who are allergic may have a bad reaction. This can include swelling and itching. The skin may become irritated and painful around the bite, and sometimes hives and a rash will appear. Scratching the bite can cause a secondary infection.

In most cases, fleas will be a nuisance and can indicate a household infestation that needs to be dealt with, but they will cause no serious symptoms.


There are two primary complications from fleabites. These are allergic reactions and secondary infections.

If a person is bitten and begins to show the following symptoms, they should seek medical attention immediately:

  • difficulty breathing
  • nausea
  • swelling of the lips or face

A flea bite may also become infected. If the affected person has swollen glands, extreme pain around the bite, or excessive redness, they should speak with a doctor.

In some cases, fleas carry diseases that can be transmitted through bites, such as flea-borne spotted fever, plague, typhus, and cat scratch fever.

Many people are concerned about bed bugs while traveling, and the bites of fleas and bed bugs are easily confused.

It is important to know the differences between the bites of these common parasites to avoid treating the wrong symptoms and infestation.

A fleabite will appear as a tiny red bump surrounded by a small patch of inflamed skin. Bites will also tend to continue to occur during a home infestation.

A bed bug bite will look more like that of a mosquito with a large, raised, irritated area. However, mosquito bites tend to be larger and do not appear in patterns.

Mosquito bites mostly occur around sunset or at night. A flea can bite at any time.

Because of their habitat, the bed bug will produce intermittent bites. Both will itch, but bed bug bites can appear more inflamed.

Fleabites generally occur in small clusters on easily accessible skin. They can be anywhere on the body, but bites on feet and ankles are most common. Bed bug bites tend to appear in a straight pattern. Although they can also appear anywhere, they are most likely on the face, neck, and arms.

The biggest difference between the two is the possibility of blisters forming on bed bug bites.

Treatments for fleabites can range from simple home remedies to medications. available to purchase over the counter or online. These include:

To avoid a secondary infection, it is important that people do not try to scratch fleabites. Treating the bites will help reduce the itching. In most cases, fleabites will resolve without treatment.

What to do if a pet has fleas

Pets are the most common way for fleas to enter the home.

As a result, it is important to understand how to resolve a flea infestation and implement flea prevention in the home.

Pet owners should consult a vet to determine if their pet has any health problems caused by fleas. The vet can suggest a number of inexpensive and effective flea treatments.

After treating the pet, the infestation will need to be removed from the home. Fleas can be difficult to destroy, so people might want to consult a professional exterminator to learn more.

If you are not sure whether your home has fleas, walk around your home wearing white socks. The presence tiny black bugs on the bottom of your socks probably indicates a flea infestation.

Tips on removing fleas

There are a number of ways to rid the home of fleas.

Make sure both pets and the home environment receive cleansing treatment. Fleas can survive for more than 100 days without a host.

Take the following steps:

  • Discard the dust bag from any vacuum cleaners after every use.
  • Regularly clean and vacuum furniture, floors, skirting boards, and bedding.
  • Only treat your pet with recommended or prescribed anti-flea medication.


Flea Bites on Humans and Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

In most cases you don’t need to treat flea bites on humans, but there are some symptoms you should be aware of. It’s possible to develop flea bite symptoms because of allergic reactions, or get infections where the flea has bitten. Infection occurs when you scratch in and around the affected area. There is a lot of bacteria hiding under the fingernails, which goes directly into the open wound. So no scratching, no matter how much it itches.

As a rule, fleas bite people around the ankles or at least in the lower parts of the legs. Flea bites on humans can also be seen on the arms, after you have held your pet. The reason why the bugs attack the legs is that they live in carpets and whatever else is close to the floor. Fleas have absolutely no problems getting to you as they can easily jump over half a meter. See what their bites look like.

Do flea bites on humans itch?

The short answer is YES. Don’t worry though, if there are no apparent signs other than itching, they usually disappear by themselves. What makes flea bites itch isn’t the actual bite itself, it’s the flea saliva, which it injects into your body when it bites. It contains a substance which helps it to eat without being disrupted. If you or your pet has already been bitten by a flea once before, it’s possible to get an allergic reaction to the saliva.

How long do flea bites last?

Flea bites on humans most often occur in two to three groups or clusters of small red spots with redness around them. Slightly depending on how your body react to the bites (and how well you refrain from scratching the wounds), the reddish look last anywhere from a few hours up to several days. If you have very sensitive skin and a tendency to scarring, flea bites can lead to almost permanent scabs and marks. That is why it is very important to avoid scratching the bites. Also use a soothing ointment or scar cream to prevent permanent scar tissue.

How to treat flea bite symptoms

If you can refrain from scratching yourself after you’ve been bitten by a flea, you’re safe against further infections. These products all help to effectively relieve the itching, should you be unfortunate enough to be bitten:

Be careful not to scrub too hard, as you may risk making an even bigger hole in the wound. Ice or cold water soothes itching for a period and prevents swelling and inflammation. You should also clean the infected area with antiseptic soap, which prevents your body from being invaded by all sorts of nasty bacteria. Taking antihistamine might also help, but you should contact your doctor or pharmacist before you do that.

Treating flea bites on humans with vinegar

Vinegar is one of the best home remedies for flea bites. You can use apple cider vinegar, preferably raw and organic, with mother enzyme, for this remedy. Here are two ways to treat flea bites on humans with vinegar:

  • Insert a clean Q tip in the apple cider vinegar. Dab it gently on the bites. (Caution: do not use if you have blisters or open raw wounds in the bitten areas as the vinegar can sting).
  • You can add a cupful of vinegar to your bath water and soak in this bath to treat flea bites on the back, arms, torso and abdomen.

Vinegar is such a powerful remedy that you can also use to treat flea bites on dogs or cats. Add vinegar to the pet’s final rinse water while bathing. This will not only repel fleas, it will also make their coats shinier and glossier.

How to treat flea bites on babies

Babies have very delicate skin and the bites can lead to severe reactions. First of all, make sure that your baby has indeed been bitten by fleas. Sometimes, people tend to have bed bugs and may not even be aware of it. Read my article on flea bites vs bed bugs here. This will help you get an idea if you have fleas or bed bugs. Talk to your doctor if you are in doubt. Here are some home remedies for flea bites on babies:

  • Wash or ice the skin. If you choose ice, wrap the ice cubes up in a clean cloth and gently press it on the bitten areas. Ice for at least 10 minutes at a time and repeat 2-3 times a day. Pay attention to your baby’s comfort level and stop immediately if it causes discomfort.
  • Do not let your baby scratch the bites. You can use tiny mittens on your baby’s hands to prevent secondary skin infections.
  • Apply calamine lotion on the skin to ease skin irritation.
  • You can also use diaper rash ointment for the bites. This will prevent itchiness, redness and inflammation.
  • Aloe vera gel (use natural, organic products devoid of fragrance, parabens or dyes) can also help prevent itchiness.

Allergic reactions from flea bites on humans

Sometimes, flea bites can get very serious. Some people are more sensitive to flea bites than others. In the worst cases of flea bites on humans, people have reacted dangerously to the bites and have gone into anaphylactic shock. However, this occurs rarely and since you’re still reading, hopefully you aren’t hit that hard. Here are some other symptoms of allergic reactions from flea bites on humans. Contact your doctor if you experience any of this:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Swelling of the lips or tongue
  • Chest pain

Flea bite symptoms of infection

If you or anyone around you experiences any of the above symptoms, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. Ensure that you do not confuse an infected bite with an allergic reaction and cause unnecessary panic. The infections from flea bites on humans typically have the following symptoms:

  • Swollen glands
  • Redness
  • Pain in the area

The above symptoms should also be discussed with the doctor as soon as possible, but the situation usually isn’t as serious as the allergic reaction.

Get rid of flea bite marks faster

If you have followed the above advice to keep the area clean and make use of antihistamines shortly after you’ve been bitten, the itching will disappear after a few days. Flea bites on humans are likely to leave some marks, but don’t worry though, as they disappear on their own. They leave no scars and will be gone after a few weeks, but if you want to get rid of the marks faster, you can follow the advice below.

IMPORTANT! This treatment should only be used for flea bites on humans, when it no longer itches.

Use a mild exfoliant for the face and apply a little moisturizer on the bites. Repeat the procedure and be very careful, as it can irritate the bites. Also make sure to use some sunscreen every time you go outside. The new skin is very sensitive to light. It will probably be darker than the rest of the body when exposed to sunlight.

Fleas on humans can be as much a nuisance as fleas on animals, if you don’t know how to handle them. Learn how to get rid of fleas once and for all.

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