Dealing with Flea Bites
Advisory by Asmirah Abdul Rahim, Guardian Pharmacist
What are fleas?
Fleas are parasites that thrive in warm environments, particularly in tropical climates like that of Singapore’s. These parasites typically feed on the blood of warm-blooded mammals like humans, dogs, and cats.
What do fleas look like?
Adult fleas are usually brownish, and their length ranges between 1 to 8 millimetres. Their eggs are white, and can be as small as half a millimetre long. The eggs are most commonly found on pets or their surroundings.
What are the symptoms of a flea bite?
Bitten areas become itchy, painful and warm when they are touched. Flea bites can also trigger papular urticarial, an allergic reaction after insect bites where red, fluid-filled bumps develop. Excessive scratching of the affected areas to relieve the itch may also result in bacterial infection if the skin is broken.
What medication can I take for flea bites?
To reduce the allergic reaction and itch, do consult your pharmacist for some antihistamines like chlorpheniramine, cetirizine, or loratadine. In situations where infections have occurred, seek medical treatment from a doctor.
How can I protect myself from flea bites?
- Vacuum regularly to remove animal hair, fleas, and their eggs. Also, ensure that the vacuum bags are disposed of immediately.
- Wash pet bedding in hot soapy water (at 60°C) to kill fleas.
- Treat pets with animal insecticides that are recommended for flea eradication.