Fleas are normal when animals are nearby. These tiny insects feed on organic matter, live outdoors in grass, and will cling to any warm-blooded critters that pass where they are. Pets can bring fleas into your home.
Even an animal that lives on the street can bring fleas into your home. Adult fleas bite both animals and humans. Both fleas and their treatment pose special risks to babies. If your baby receives multiple bites from a flea that infests the feeding fleas, their wounds may become infected and require an antibiotic.
Because they find themselves or crawl on the ground that could be infested with fleas, babies can be more susceptible to bites than adults. You may notice a series of raised red bumps on your baby and worry.
There are several ways to tell if those red bumps are flea bites. First, the bites should be small and will be grouped into a group of two or three bites together. In a severe infestation, the baby will have many groups of bites. The bumps may be around the baby’s joints, such as the knees or ankles.
The bites of fleas can become infected as the baby scratch can be seen because the skin is opened around the bites. To prevent infection, it is important to trim the baby’s nails and wash them with soap and water. Also, you can use a cool washcloth to reduce swelling and relieve itching.
FLEA BITE DERMATITIS
Allergies pose additional risks for babies. Some children are allergic to the proteins found in flea saliva. This causes an allergic reaction that can affect a much larger area of the skin.
In this case, the bites will be surrounded by a halo of red, swollen skin . In multiple bites from an infestation, the halos can fuse together to make the child’s entire limb look red and swollen. Allergic dermatitis is found more often in children than in adults. Talk to your pediatrician before using any medication to reduce an itch or allergy in a baby.
FLEAS AND TAPEWORMS
Most children with tapeworms are infected by undercooked meat or by handling the feces of an infected person or animal. However, fleas can also carry these types of parasites. Typically, flea larvae ingest tapeworm eggs. When the flea matures, cats and dogs can ingest the infected flea during grooming while licking themselves.
The tapeworm egg hatches in the intestines of animals, where it latches onto the intestinal wall. While most human cases come from infested meat, in theory, a baby could contract tapeworms from ingesting a flea.
BEWARE OF FLEA TREATMENT
Even getting rid of fleas poses a danger to babies. Many flea control products use toxic chemicals that children can ingest. When a baby touches the pet or the areas where the pet rests or plays, the toxins from flea products can be transferred to the baby’s hands and often into the infant’s mouth. Also, many pesticides used to remove fleas from a home leave a toxic residue on furniture and floors that the child can ingest.
HOW TO REDUCE THE DANGER
It will be necessary for you to contact the pediatrician as soon as possible to treat the bites and in the event that there are fleas in your home, you should call professionals in pest control. Also talk to your vet to find non-toxic solutions for flea control in your pets.
Clean or vacuum floors and bedding daily to remove eggs and larvae. Wash bedding weekly to remove any pests. Get into the habit of combing your pet’s fur with a flea comb every day. Not only does this keep your pet pest-free, but it will also allow you to spend quality time with your pet.