Fleas: How to Protect Yourself from - and Treat - Flea Bites

Insect Shield helps protect against diseases spread by fleas

It’s never fun to be around fleas but they seem to find a way into our lives at some point. There are more than 2,000 identified species of fleas and one of the most common species lives in the United States. Fleas measure about 1/16 of an inch long and are narrow in shape. Fleas do not have wings, but their long legs make them well adapted for jumping. 

If you and your pets prefer to avoid mingling with fleas, we suggest Insect Shield permethrin treated clothing and gear for men, women, kids, and pets. While clothing can help deter flea bites, it is not a complete solution. Fleas are skilled navigators and may find ways to reach the skin by moving under the edges of clothing or through spaces in loosely fitted attire.

Both male and female adult fleas suck blood. Fleas feed on many different animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, rats, mice and people. Fleas are known to pass along disease, including the plague.

You might think only pet owners are at risk of getting fleas inside the home, but fleas can get inside your home and multiply quickly in fabric or upholstery, creating a less than homey environment for people.  

Flea Bite Symptoms and Treatment

Fleas may be small but their bites pack a punch. Pay attention to these symptoms and tips on how to treat bites:

  • Flea bites occur on feet, ankles, and legs
  • They often happen in groups and sometimes in a line around the ankles or legs
  • Bites are small, red spots with a halo
  • Use an over-the-counter antihistamine or anti-itch creams
  • Ice packs, aloe vera, and tea tree oil are home remedies to soothe itching
  • Swelling and rash are signs that you might be allergic
  • Seek treatment right away if you have trouble breathing or nausea 

Preventing Flea Bites on Humans

While fleas can be found pretty much anywhere, there are easy steps you can take to prevent flea bites.

  • Vacuum your house often, especially where your pets sleep
  • Wear long pants if you are walking outdoors where fleas are common
  • Use an insect repellent with DEET
  • Cover up with permethrin treated gear 
  • Treat infected pets with flea treatment right away

Preventing Fleas on Dogs

There’s a reason why fleas spread quickly from our pets to our homes. Loosely deposited flea eggs readily fall off the hairs of an animal. So when a dog is infested, flea eggs get dropped to the ground, flooring, rugs, beds or other furniture. Fleas create a nuisance and health hazards for both dogs and people. In addition to the itching and skin problems associated with fleas, they can carry canine tapeworm. 

Taking these preventive measures can help: 

  • Ask your veterinarian for preventive flea treatments year round, not just in the warmer months
  • Keep your dog fenced away from other dogs that might be infected
  • Vacuum carpets, upholstery, and pet beds often
  • Wash pet bedding often
  • Use permethrin-treated dog clothes and accessories for added protection against fleas

Risks and Diseases Associated with Fleas

Fleas are known to spread diseases among people and animals, among them murine typhus, tapeworms, and bubonic plague. In the U.S., diseases spread by fleas are rare, however they can be a risk in other countries and exposure can happen through travel. Flea saliva can also cause dermatitis on the skin, causing rashes and bumps.   

How to Repel Fleas

Covering up is an effective way to protect yourself from flea bites, especially if your clothing and gear contain permethrin. Known for decades to be safe insect protection, permethrin is bound to fibers in Insect Shield products to provide lasting protection against biting insects.

Permethrin has been registered with the Environmental Protection Agency since 1977 and is used in products for children and pets. Insect Shield clothing and gear are proven to repel bites from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and flies among other bugs. Permethrin works by affecting the nervous system of insects when they land on fibers containing the product, preventing insects from biting.

Insect Shield clothing keeps its effectiveness for up to 70 washings. This durability means you will be protected on your outdoor adventures for years to come.