Out of the several existing species of fleas, Ctenocephalides felis or cat flea is most commonly found in homes. These are tiny bloodsucking parasites that attack warm-blooded vertebrates. No wonder, a flea infestation is common in homes with pets. While the adult fleas latch onto the body of the host, drawing blood in order to grow, the larval population feed on the dried blood or organic matter. Due to their flattened bodies, the adult fleas can easily hide in the pet's fur. A flea infestation can be a very annoying problem for most pet owners. The saliva of these parasites is allergenic in nature, and could cause a skin condition called flea allergic dermatitis. This condition is characterized by itching. If you find your cat scratching persistently, you must check for fleas immediately. Can cat fleas live on humans? Well, fleas don't live on humans but if you are handling a cat or a dog that is infested by these parasites, you might get bitten by them. Here is some information on how you could tackle a flea infestation.
Cat Flea Bites
Since the saliva of these parasites contains several types of allergens, your pet may develop an allergic reaction due to a flea bite. The symptoms include severe itching, hair loss, weakness, lethargy and anemia. Besides painful itching, flea bites can also lead to secondary infections. In a home that is infested with fleas, one must check the carpets and pet bedding. A large number of fleas may be present on rugs and bedding. As the infestation becomes severe, these bloodsucking parasites could even latch on to pet owners while they handle their pet. These could jump from the carpets or bedding and bite the pet owners. The flea bites on humans appear as tiny red-colored itchy bumps. These bumps usually develop on the ankles and lower legs. If one is allergic to their saliva, one may develop an allergic reaction. It could cause skin rashes, localized or generalized itching or hives in some people. Scratching on the affected area can also cause secondary bacterial infections. Fleas can also act as carriers of certain diseases. If your pet seems to be exhibiting the aforementioned symptoms, take all the necessary precautions while handling your pet.
Treating Cat Flea Bites on Humans
If you notice red itchy bumps around your ankles or the lower legs, immediately wash the affected area with an antibacterial soap. Since hot water will aggravate the itching sensation, make sure that you use cold water. Dry the area with a clean cloth and apply a hydrocortisone cream on it. You can also apply a calamine lotion to get relief from itching. If you are experiencing severe itching and discomfort, you should consult a doctor. Doctors generally prescribe antihistamines for alleviating the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Application of ice packs will also help in reducing the swelling. Since scratching over these bumps can make you prone to a secondary bacterial infection, refrain from scratching over the affected area. Besides following these instructions, you should also follow certain measures to prevent an infestation in future. The best way to prevent cat fleas on humans is to free your home and your pet from these bloodsucking parasites.
Ways to Prevent an Infestation
Since these blood-sucking parasites can transmit diseases such as tapeworm and murine typhus, you must make sure that your pet is not infested. Combing your pet's fur with a flea comb is an effective home remedy for dealing with an infestation. You should use a fine-toothed flea comb to remove adult fleas from your cat's fur coat. Before combing your pet's fur with this comb, dip it in soapy water or an alcohol solution. Using a cat flea shampoo will also help in killing them. You can also take some precautionary measures to control an infestation. First of all, vacuum your home frequently to free your home from these tiny parasites. Dispose off the vacuum bags immediately to ensure that the fleas that have been collected are no longer allowed to infest your house. You could also beat the rugs or carpets outdoors to get rid of flea eggs, but make sure that the eggs don't fall off indoors. So, carry these items very carefully. You can also have your carpets steam cleaned. Wash the bedding and rugs in hot soapy water at least once a week. You can also consult a vet and use the recommended flea medicine or sprays that contain an insect growth regulator. Other products that may prove useful in preventing a flea infestation include flea collars, flea bombs, flea spot-ons and flea sprays.
If your cat seems to be scratching persistently and you also notice flea bites on your legs, follow the aforementioned flea control measures.