Can Flea Bites Make You Sick For Long? (3 Diseases Transmitted By Fleas)

Flea bitesCan Flea Bites Make You Sick For Long? (3 Diseases Transmitted By Fleas)


Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They are known for causing itchy, red bites on the skin. But can flea bites make you sick? In this article, we’ll explore this question in-depth and provide you with important information on flea bites and the diseases they can transmit.

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What are Flea Bites?

Flea bites are small, red, itchy bumps that appear on the skin after being bitten by fleas. Fleas are tiny, blood-sucking insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans, and they can be found in homes, yards, and outdoor areas.

Flea bites often appear in groups or clusters and can be found on any part of the body, but are most commonly found on the ankles, feet, and legs. The bites can be very itchy and can cause a rash or swelling. In some cases, people may have an allergic reaction to flea bites, which can cause hives or difficulty breathing.

To treat flea bites, it is important to wash the affected area with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. Over-the-counter anti-itch creams, such as hydrocortisone, can help relieve itching and inflammation. In cases where a person has an allergic reaction, a doctor may prescribe antihistamines or corticosteroids to alleviate the symptoms. Additionally, it is important to eliminate fleas from the environment to prevent further bites.

Common Symptoms of Flea Bites

Flea bites can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on a person’s sensitivity to the bites and the number of fleas that have bitten them. Common symptoms of flea bites include small, red bumps on the skin that are often grouped in clusters. The bites are usually very itchy and may cause a rash or swelling around the affected area. In some cases, people may experience a burning or stinging sensation at the site of the bite.

Other common symptoms of flea bites may include fever, chills, and body aches, which can occur when a person has an allergic reaction to the bites. Additionally, some people may develop flea allergy dermatitis, a condition that causes intense itching and skin irritation. If left untreated, flea bites can become infected, leading to more serious health problems.

Can Flea Bites Make You Sick?

While flea bites themselves are not typically dangerous, they can sometimes lead to serious health problems if left untreated. In rare cases, flea bites can transmit bacterial infections such as Bartonella, which can cause fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.

In addition, fleas can carry and transmit other diseases, such as the bubonic plague, typhus, and murine typhus. These diseases can cause severe illness or even death if not treated promptly. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any unusual symptoms after being bitten by a flea, such as fever, headaches, or joint pain.

What Are the Diseases Transmitted by Fleas?

One would never expect anything more than flea bites from fleas. Fleas, however, can be cozy hosts and are also known to be carriers of deadly diseases, which can easily be transmitted through flea bites. Here are some diseases that can be transmitted through flea bites:

  1. Bubonic Plague – This is the most widely known disease transmitted through flea bites. Though only a handful of cases are reported each year, this deadly plague was responsible for the epidemic in the 14th century killing almost half of Europe’s population, which was around 25 million people. The plague is usually carried by rodents and transmitted to fleas who bite them & ultimately transfer them to humans and pets through fleabites.
  2. Tungiasis – This disease is not common in North America, but with increasing international travel originating from tropical regions one can only be careful. This disease is transmitted by chigger fleas from the sand and affects mainly the feet.
  3. Murine Typhus – This again is a rare disease mostly originating in the southwestern states where fleas become infected by rats. Common symptoms include severe headaches, high fever, weakness, chills, and nausea. Thankfully, there is a treatment and patients respond rather quickly to it.

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Closing Thoughts

Flea bites are not common and often unharmful. As they say, knowledge is power. It is good to have sufficient knowledge of fleas and flea bites so you know how to identify them and know when their bites could be harmful and cause serious health-related issues. If you feel the bites are not healing fast, visiting a doctor is highly recommended.

Taking precautions especially when you have pets at home could help prevent and eradicate infestations. Regular grooming of pets and thoroughly cleaning floors, surfaces, couches, cushions, and your backyard are some preventive measures you may want to start with.

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