Fleas are small, wingless insects that live off the blood of their host. They’re typically found on pets like dogs and cats but can also be found on humans if they come into contact with an animal that has fleas.
The most common way to get fleas is by touching them or sitting in a place where there is already some present.
Flea bites can cause itchy, red welts which may develop into pus-filled blisters over time. These bites may not appear for one to four days after being bitten so it’s important to take precautions before coming into contact with any animals who have been known to carry these pesky critters.
Will animal fleas live on human hair? No, unlike other types of fleas, dog and cat fleas specifically live on animals. They cannot survive on humans as they do not consume human blood as their primary food source.
Despite this, you should not take the risk of finding out if you come into contact with them. Take caution when around any animals that have been known to carry these parasites.
A quick way to check is by looking for small, red dots on their skin. If you find some and suspect they may be fleas, it’s best to seek the help of an exterminator as soon as possible as these pests can reproduce very quickly.
Although animal fleas do not live on humans, other kinds such as human fleas can occasionally bite humans. These kinds of fleas are typically small enough to live in the fur of a cat or dog but can also live on other mammals.
Can animal fleas transfer to humans?
Ctenocephalides felis and Ctenocephalides canis are common fleas found on cats and dogs around the home.
These fleas do sometimes bite humans but won’t live on them long-term. If they’re in contact with a cat or dog who has fleas, this will help to transfer them to humans, but they cannot survive for more than a few days once on human skin without being attached to an animal host.
The additional risk is that animal fleas can transmit a number of potential illnesses to humans. These illnesses include typhus and plague, both of which can be deadly if left untreated.
It’s best to avoid petting any cats or dogs if it seems they have fleas, particularly around the home as these pests are quick to jump onto a new host once their current one has been removed.
If you find a cat or dog who appears to have an infestation without removing them from your home, try to keep an eye on them and wash any bedding they may have been using in the meantime.
Symptoms of flea bites on humans include red, itchy bumps which can be slightly painful if multiple are present in close proximity to one another. If bitten by a flea, antihistamines may relieve some of the itching and pain felt around the area.
Can fleas live on human clothes?
Fleas have been known to live on clothing for an 18 – 24 hour period. They tend to die shortly afterward as there’s no blood source available to them. There is a chance of you being bitten however if they reach your skin.
It’s best to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants when around dogs or cats. If you think they may have fleas, it’s also a good idea to wash the clothing in hot water to kill any insects which may be living on them.
However, even if an animal has fleas, they might not necessarily make your clothes their new home. They might spend most of their time on the pet themselves or in their bedding, for example.
So it is also important that you make sure to keep your pets from sleeping with you if they have fleas. In some cases, it’s also a good idea to avoid letting them sleep on your clothes while you’re wearing them, which can avoid the issue of them trying to make it their new home.
Preventing Fleas in your Home
Animal fleas and human fleas can be easily prevented by taking steps such as ensuring all pets are treated for infestations at regular intervals. Keeping them from drinking from uncovered sources of water and scrutinizing bedding and clothing regularly will also help.
If you do suspect a flea infestation on your pet, be sure to take it to the vet for treatment as soon as possible. This will also help prevent them from biting and transferring any illnesses to humans.
Fleas are potentially dangerous parasites that carry serious diseases, so it is important that they are taken care of quickly.
If you own any pets, be sure to keep an eye on them for small red dots during the warmer months, especially if they spend time outside or in wooded areas. If bitten by a flea, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention as soon as possible.