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Can Fleas and Ticks Bite Humans?

Mar 18, 2024

Many people assume that fleas and ticks only bother our furry friends, like cats and dogs– but the reality is that these pests can bite humans, too. While it is true that they mostly target animals like dogs, cats, and wildlife, understanding the potential risks they pose to humans is a must.

Staying informed about the impact that fleas and ticks can have on your health can help you to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Fleas and Ticks: Tiny Troublemakers

Fleas are very small wingless insects that feed on the blood of animals. They have strong legs that allow them to jump from host to host, and they often end up inside our homes by hitchhiking on our pets. 

Ticks, on the other hand, are eight-legged arachnids (like spiders!) that attach themselves to a host and feed on their blood. They don’t jump, but they can latch onto humans brushing past them in grassy or wooded areas.

Both fleas and ticks can pose a threat to humans, not just pets. Here’s why:

Disease transmission: These insects can carry and transmit various diseases to humans, some of which can be serious. 

Skin irritation: Their bites can cause itching, redness and swelling, leading to discomfort and even potential infection if scratched excessively.

Do Fleas Bite Humans?

Yes, fleas can bite humans, While they prefer furry hosts, they won’t hesitate to feed on humans if their preferred hosts are unavailable. Flea bites typically appear as small, red bumps, often clustered together around the ankles, legs, and waist, where clothing may not provide a barrier. While these bites don’t usually cause serious health problems, flea bites can be itchy and uncomfortable.

In rare cases, they can even transmit diseases like murine typhus– a bacterial infection that causes fever, chills, muscle aches, and a rash. This disease is uncommon in developed countries, but it’s still important to be aware of the risk and take precautions against it.

Can Ticks Bite Humans?

Ticks are more likely to bite humans than fleas are! They often hide in tall grass, shrubs, and wooded areas, waiting for a host to brush past them. Flea bites are often felt immediately, but tick bites can go unnoticed initially.

If you find a tick attached to your skin, don’t panic! The risk of disease transmission increases the longer that the tick is attached. However, removing it promptly is crucial to minimize the risk of infection.

Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, which is the most common tick-borne illness in the United States. This disease can cause fever, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, and even neurological problems if left untreated.

Preventing Bites: Keeping Yourself Safe

The best way to deal with fleas and ticks is to prevent them from biting in the first place. 

Treat your pets regularly with flea and tick prevention medication, and vacuum your home regularly. Empty your vacuum canister outdoors. Wash pet bedding in hot water. Maintain a clean and tidy yard, free of debris and tall grass.

When you’re outside, especially in high-risk areas, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. It may also help to use insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin, being sure to follow instructions carefully.

By following these tips and staying informed about these pests, you can significantly reduce the risk of flea and tick bites, protecting yourself, your loved ones, and your pets from the discomfort and potential health risks associated with them.

Prevention is key, and pest control professionals can help you to deal with flea and tick problems in your yard and in your home. If you’re struggling with visits from these unwanted guests, reach out to West today!

Call your local West Termite location or fill out the form
on our contact page to schedule your inspection today!

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