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fleas on humans photoThere’s an old saying that goes: Lie down with dogs; wake up with fleas. That saying is literally true. If you have anything to do with dogs, the day will certainly come when you feel that itchy, crawling sensation, look down and discover a flea. There really isn’t any way to prevent this from happening. Even if your dog is normally free of fleas some will bounce onto him from other animals and some of them will bounce onto you. Since that’s the case, here are a few things dog owners need to know about the issue of fleas on humans.

Are fleas on humans a health risk?

No, they aren’t. Fleas are irritating little suckers, but they really don’t carry diseases to any great extent. The big exception, of course, is plague, and that is only a risk if you live in areas where the plague is already present. That means the south-west as far as North America is concerned. Plague is carried by rodent fleas. Because fleas don’t spend most of their life cycle actually on the host animal, dogs and cats can pick up rodent fleas while they are out and about. The flea hops on for a quick snack, then jumps off. Dog fleas don’t really carry any diseases that humans can pick up. Cat fleas can carry cat scratch fever. Some kinds of fleas can also transmit tape worms, but again, this isn’t very common.

Getting rid of fleas on humans

If you know your house is flea-free, getting rid of fleas is no problem. You’re just dealing with a stray and you can usually catch it pretty easily. Because we have so little hair a good, hot shower will flush them down the drain. Fleas make you feel dirty, so the shower is probably a good antidote in any case. The type of flea on human problem is not this kind of occasional sighting, though. The only time it gets to be a real problem is when you get a flea infestation in your house.

Fleas don’t live on humans

Fleas don’t live on dogs or cats either. Most of the flea life cycle takes place off the host. If people in your household are seeing a lot of fleas on themselves that means there are 100 times as many in the house. Modern houses with wall-to-wall carpet is a flea breeding bonanza. The carpets and underlay will be teeming with larval fleas and eggs and they can be very hard to eradicate.
I’ve had the misfortune to go through a couple of flea infestations and they are no joke. One time, the fleas were so bad that my girlfriend refused to visit me until the place was cleaned up. She came over one time wearing white pants. As soon as she walked in her pants started to acquire black spots from all the fleas jumping onto her. For some reason, fleas on humans is a much bigger problem for women than for men. Fleas just seem to prefer womens’ blood. Even if the men in the room aren’t scratching, as soon as a woman enters the fleas come hopping.
Fleas aren’t hard to control if you start clean. Using something like Advantage Topical Flea Treatment for Dogs will keep your dog from getting fleas. Another thing you can do is have a flea trap or two in the house. Flea traps won’t help with a full-on infestation, but they will help to kill off the occasional fleas that your dog may come home with and the ones that hop in from outside.

Green solutions for fleas on humans

If you value your health and the health of your dog, you probably have reservations about using toxic chemicals to keep fleas in check. Prevent fleas in the house and you won’t have any problems with fleas on humans. Anti-flea chemicals are extremely strong and some people and animals react very badly to them. Even if you personally don’t have a reaction to these chemicals you should probably be concerned about releasing them into the environment. Fortunately, there are greener alternatives that can be used instead of powerful poisons. This is especially true if you act early and follow good practices to clean up fleas before the situation gets really bad. More info about fleas.

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