|Other encyclopedia topics:||A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9|
|Contents of this page:|
Alternative Names Return to topDog fleas; Siphonaptera
Definition Return to top
Fleas are blood-sucking insects that feed on humans, dog, cats, and other animals. Fleas do not have wings.
Causes Return to top
Fleas prefer to live on dogs and cats, but may also be found on humans and other available animals. Pet owners may not be bothered by fleas until their pet is gone for a lengthy period of time, and the fleas must find another place to go. This is when they begin to bite humans. Bites frequently occur around the waist, ankles, armpits, and in the bend of the elbows and knees.
Symptoms Return to top
Note: Symptoms often begin suddenly (within hours).
Exams and Tests Return to top
No testing is necessary.
Treatment Return to top
The goal of treatment is to get rid of the fleas by treating the home, pets, and outside areas with insecticide. Small children should not be in the home when insecticides are being used. Birds and fish must be protected during spraying. Home foggers and flea collars do not always work. If home treatments do not work, professional extermination may be needed.
If flea bites occur, an over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream can help relieve itching.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Getting rid of fleas can be difficult and takes persistence.
Possible Complications Return to top
Scratching can lead to a secondary skin infection.
Prevention Return to top
Prevention may not be possible in all cases. Use of insecticides may be helpful if fleas are common in your area. Professional extermination may be necessary in some cases.Update Date: 10/15/2008 Updated by: Daniel Rauch, MD, FAAP. Director, Pediatric Hospitalist Program, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.