Ah, the beach! That salty air! That beach smell! Don’t you wish you could just take it home with you? Many of us wish we could capture the essence of the beach, but when it comes to bringing it your house, there may be certain elements better left at the shore. Sand fleas can feast on human flesh, carrying diseases and transmitting viruses, and you certainly don’t want them making your body their home. Read on to find out little more about these pests and how you can make sure they don’t get in the way of your summer fun.
Sand Fleas On Humans
Don’t judge them by their size. They may be quite small, but sand fleas can cause big problems. Because they are so close to the ground, your ankles, feet, and legs, are their most convenient targets, and they can’t jump more than 20 to 40 centimeters, so unless you’re lying in the sand, your upper body should be relatively safe. These creatures are nocturnal, so you’re most likely to get bitten in the evening, at night, or at dawn.
There are two types of sand fleas bites to look for. The first resembles a mosquito bite. You’ll get these when the flea bites and sucks your blood and they move on to another host. As they do this, they leave behind saliva which prevents blood clotting, and this clotting that may cause an allergic reaction. The second type of bite is inflicted by breeding females. These fleas will burrow themselves into the skin and stay there until their eggs hatch. The bites of the female breeding fleas are characterized by a swollen area with black spots in the middle. The black spots are the fleas.
Both types of bites can cause symptoms like pain, discomfort, and itching. If you have an allergy to sand flea bites, these symptoms can be more severe. When breeding fleas burrow into your skin, you may experience fever and infection, which may develop into tungiasis, which is an inflammatory skin disease that needs treatment to prevent further infection.
If you are bitten by and fleas, here is some advice for treatment
- Don’t scratch the bites. This will only increase the chance of infection.
- Examine the bite for breeding sand fleas who can live under your skin sucking blood for weeks.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to control itching, and take painkillers for pain and swelling. See a doctor if treatments worsen. He or she may suggest the use of an antihistamine cream.
- A combination of baking soda and water may prove soothing. Just apply to the area and let it work.
- Soak in a lukewarm (not hot) oatmeal bath to reduce itching.
- Aloe vera may provide relief from itching and help bites heal.
- Essential oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, and cedar wood, may all relieve discomfort
Preventing Further Attacks
Prevention is, of course, the best treatment. Here are some suggestions for those who want to avoid sand flea bites.
- Stay away from the beach in the morning and evening, and when it has recently rained. Sand fleas are more active when the air is moist and cool. If you do visit the beach during any of these weather conditions, bring insect repellant.
- Cover yourself when lying down or sitting to avoid bites on your legs, back, and feet.
Have you ever provided a home for a sand flea? Let us know your experiences and how you rid yourself of these bloodsucking parasites.