Fleas

Fleas are tiny, wingless insects that can jump as far as one foot. They ordinarily live on pets and suck blood for nourishment, but they sometimes feed on people. Pets infested with fleas scratch and bite themselves constantly, producing soiled, roughened coats and skin irritations. A fleabite on humans appears as a small, hard, red itching spot with one central puncture hole.

In addition to causing insufferable itching and severe allergic reactions, fleas can carry serious diseases.

How to Stop Them

Frequent grooming of pets reduces the chance of an infestation. Medications can also be used to prevent or eliminate minor flea problems.

If medication doesn’t do the job, remove pets’ bedding and wash or destroy it. Vacuum cracks and crevices, rugs, upholstery, and other areas, and immediately discard the vacuum bag outdoors. Mist upholstered furniture lightly with a non-staining flea spray, and spray floors, baseboards, carpeting, and cracks. Also spray outdoor kennels and yards, where pets can be reinfested. These formulas are insect growth regulators that prevent metamorphosis in fleas (and other insects). Since metamorphosis does not occur in humans, dogs, and cats, these sprays appear to be very safe. The sprays don’t kill mature fleas, since they have already passed through metamorphosis, but they can stop the development of flea larvae.

For infestations where people are affected, hiring a professional is recommended.