If you think fleas can only attack cats, dogs and other pets, then think again! The fleas that are commonly found in pets can even attack humans. Worse, fleas are known to bite humans too. Flea bites usually appear as reddish, raised spots on the skin that are hard to the touch and extremely itchy. These bites would also contain a small dot in the center of the spot which is considered to be the puncture point of the wound.
Fleas are generally harmless and remain on the body without causing any adverse side effects. Flea bites are also usually restricted to areas below the waist, including the legs, ankles and feet. However, in certain cases a flea bite can cause alarming allergic reactions in the body. This is usually the case when the individual in question has sensitive skin.
Simple And Effective Home Remedies For Fleas
Fleas can be quite hard to get rid of, considering the fact that they are highly contagious and can easily move from one host to another. So in addition to taking care of fleas on your body, you need to make sure your pets and your house remain free of these pesky insects in order to prevent recurrences. Given below are some of the more common home remedies that are usually recommended as alternatives for standard flea treatments. You would most likely be able to see positive results in a week or two with these remedies.
Keep The Affected Area Clean
Flea bites can be extremely itchy and irritating to handle. The best way to reduce the itchiness and irritation that accompanies a flea bite is to clean the affected area properly and keep it clean.
Use an antiseptic soap or lotion to clean the bites. Rinse off with cold water and apply an ointment or lotion on the affected area. Avoid using hot water to wash the bites as it can aggravate the irritation.
Use Cold Packs
The inflammation and pain arising from a flea bite can be effectively reduced with the help of a cold pack or compress. Wrap some ice cubes (a bag of frozen peas would also do) in a towel and place the same directly over the bites to ease the pain and reduce swelling.
Alternatively, you can wrap a cold towel (dipped in ice cold water beforehand) around the affected area for about 15 minutes to get relief.
Don’t Scratch The Wound
Scratching the bites would lead to inflammation and aggravate the wound. Continuous scratching would also open up the wounds and cause secondary infection. So keep your hands to yourself and refrain from scratching, picking or prodding the bite wounds, no matter how itchy they may be. You can apply some calamine lotion above the wounds to reduce the itchiness, or opt for a hydrocortisone cream to bring down the itchiness and irritation associated with flea bite wounds.
Take A Hot Bath
Fill a tube with hot water and soak in it for about 10-15 minutes. The hot water may irritate the bite wounds. However, the fleas would not be able to sustain under hot conditions. This would make it easier for you to remove them from your body.
You can opt to add a few drops of apple cider vinegar, eucalyptus oil or lavender oil to the water before you take bath in it. This would also effectively get rid of the fleas troubling your body. Make it a point to rub some lavender oil all over your body after a hot bath. This would eradicate any fleas that might have made it out of the hot bath alive!
Scrub Your Body When Bathing/Showering
Fleas would usually stick to the hair follicles present in your body. In these cases, it would become difficult to remove them merely by bathing or showering. Use a sponge or abrasive cloth to scrub your skin thoroughly during a bath or shower. This would effectively get rid of the fleas attached to the hair follicles. Concentrate on the areas behind your neck, behind the ears, near the hairline, underarms, skin folds and the gaps between the toes and fingers as the fleas would generally tend to hide in these areas.
Use A Standard Flea Shampoo For Your Hair
As troublesome as it can be to get rid of fleas infesting the body, it would become more difficult to eradicate fleas infesting the hair. The only way to get them out of your hair permanently would be to use a good quality shampoo to wash your hair at regular intervals. Apply some shampoo o your scalp and hair, making sure you leave no area uncovered. Rinse off after 30 minutes or so for desirable results.
You can also make your own flea shampoo at home by adding one tablespoon of vinegar (white) to the shampoo (one cup would do) you regularly use. Apply the shampoo on your scalp and leave it one for about 20 minutes. This would give enough time for the acidic content of the vinegar to kill the fleas. Rinse off properly with cold water afterwards.
Use Fine Toothed Combs
Combing your hair with a fine toothed comb can effectively remove fleas sticking to the hair follicles on the scalp. Wet your hair slightly and comb it all the way from the roots to the tips using a fine toothed comb.
Hold the comb above a vessel filled with hot water and clean the bristles so that the fleas sticking to them fall directly into the hot water. Comb your hair repeatedly and at regular intervals to get rid of the fleas completely.
Other Fleas Remedies
The bad thing about fleas is that they can easily latch onto objects around the house and then make their way back to your body at a later point of time. Flea eggs on the surface of your skin can also drop off onto chairs, beds and carpets and then end up back on your body after all the extensive treatments to get rid of them in the first place. So you need to make sure that you remove these fleas from your house completely in order to avoid reinfections.
Make it a point to wash pillow covers, sofa covers, bed sheets, curtains, table cloths and everything else that is washable on a regular basis. Steam cleaning can also be considered a good option for washable household utilities, and can easily remove fleas stuck to them.
Make use of a high powered vacuum to remove fleas attached to carpets. Mop floors using soap water solutions. Add some white vinegar to the cleaning solutions for better results. If you don’t like the smell of the vinegar, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the cleaning solutions to get a pleasant smell. Alternatively, you can mix half a teaspoon of eucalyptus oil with 8 ounces of water and spray the mixture around the house to get rid of fleas without compromising on the smell.
It is considered wise to sprinkle some salt on grocery items to prevent fleas from infecting them (also works on cushions and carpets). Another effective homemade repellent for fleas involves mixing a cup of lemon extract and a cup of dish detergent in a cup of water (ratio 1:1:1). The limonene present in the lemon extract and the fatty acids present in the dish detergent would effectively eradicate fleas and their eggs, and prevent recurring infestations in the long run.