Fleas that Bite Humans

Wouldn't it be bliss if you and your pet could go frolic outdoors without worrying about fleas just waiting to pounce? If you and your pet no longer would look suspiciously neither at every nook and corner nor in rugs and beddings for their larvae and droppings? That would be ideal but eradicating all fleas is a long way from being a reality. So in the meantime, we must always be careful of these parasites.

Fleas do not harm only animals; they can also cause problems for humans. These parasites target any victim as long as they can feed on them. They can transfer from environment to pet and humans, or from pet to owner, as they are able to jump as high as 16 inches. Once they are on the host's body, they will then bite to begin their blood meal.

There are three major types of fleas that bite humans:

1. Ctenocephalides felis or cat flea - the most numerous and widespread flea species. It can transmit infections not only to cats but to dogs and humans, too. The most common of these are Bartonella, the tapeworm Dipylidium caninum, and murine typhus.

2. Ctenocephalides canis or dog flea - besides causing itching and unease, dog fleas can transmit several diseases which include tapeworm infection, typhus and tularemia.

3. Pulex irritans or human flea - can also infest cats, dogs, pigs, and other mammals. Infestation of this parasite was once a common occurrence among people but, fortunately, due to the spread of personal hygiene practices it is now seldom found in domestic dwellings.

While fleas are not particular about their hosts, there are some prey who attract more fleas than others. In humans, this could be due to the differences in our chemical makeups, skin secretions, and gas emissions. A person's level of reaction also determines the frequency of flea bites. Those who have severe allergic reactions get bitten more often than those who are non-allergic.

Fleas tend to bite parts of our body that are more reachable - like feet, ankles and calves. These are also the areas that we frequently leave exposed during summer. Flea bites - tiny red spots which are very itchy - can be the source of various diseases and allergies.

We should always take precautionary measures against flea bites. Of course, the best safeguard is keeping fleas away from our pets and our homes permanently.