You are a loving mother of three children who loves animals. Your family has two small dogs that live inside of your home. The children love waking up and playing with the dogs whether they are inside of the home or outdoors in the yard. Both dogs are well cared for but recently they have been mingling more with other dogs outside. It seems that when they come inside they are always scratching. You have recently taken them to the veterinarian only to find out that they have fleas. While the vet has given you something to bathe them in, the main issue is keeping them away from other dogs that may carry the fleas. You also begin to think about the dogs being around your children. Is it a good idea to continue having the children playing with your dogs while they are carrying these fleas?
What is a Flea?
A flea is a small wingless jumping parasitic insect that feeds on the blood of mammals and birds. It can transfer diseases as well through its bite on the skin of humans. Fleas have been known to be able to carry up to fifteen times their weight in blood.
Does a Flea Prefer the Skin of Your Pets?
Fleas prefer being on the skin of an animal because of its fur. They love living in warm, moist and dark places which allows them to hatch and suck from the bloodstream of your furry friend. Fleas are almost always found outside in well shaded areas. As your dog/cat passes by, they actually transfer onto their skin. Your pet can carry up to thirty flea eggs on their skin at one time. They can easily live on your pet as well. The warm, dark and moist environment lends well to carrying these parasites and keeping them on Fido’s skin.
Are Fleas Prone to Living on Your Children’s Skin?
While fleas are considered blood sucking parasites and can feed on any warm blooded mammal, they prefer the skin of animals. Your children can also get fleas but usually for shorter period of time. The jumping insect will often spend little time on a humans skin before transferring to a more suitable climate for feeding and living. By the time you have noticed your children itching and scratching due to a possible flea bite, the insect will have jumped onto another unsuspecting mammal or bird. Fleas on humans is rare but can happen, depending upon the species of the parasite.
Keeping Your Children Away From Flea Infested Pets
One of the best things to do if you believe that your pet is carrying the dreaded flea, is to keep children away from them until the matter can be resolved. There are many products in the market today that will kill fleas from the fur of your pet. The best way to ensure that this parasite stays off your furry friend is to kill the source of the infestation. This should significantly decrease the likelihood of fleas being on your dog/cat’s skin.
What Type of Diseases Can Fleas Carry to My Children?
There are a number of diseases that fleas can carry. Many years ago, the flea epidemic was the start of the Bubonic plague. This disease killed over twenty five million people. There are still small amounts of cases of the plague being found in the United States. The flea can also give your children a disease called Typhus which is a bacterial disease that can be carried onto your children’s skin. Another health issue with this parasite is the possibility of getting tapeworm. This type of worm will actually live on the flea and then transfer to nearby passing human skin.
What Steps Do I Take if My Child has a Flea Bite?
The flea is a jumping insect which is how it transfers from skin to skin. Should your child have a bite, the predator will probably have already left the scene before you find it. Look for scratching and itching from your child and raised red bumps. This could be indicators that your child has been bitten. Once you see the area, make sure and cleanse the area with some type of disinfectant cream. You should check with your primary physician if swelling or any type of discomfort occurs. This will ensure that your child is safe from any type of diseases that can occur from these parasitic bites.
There are other things that you can do as well to make sure that fleas are away from your home. Do not leave pet food outside. Trim plants around your home that may be contaminated with these parasites. And keep the lids of your trash cans covered and tightly closed. Any areas where the climate is moist, warm and dry should be checked by you for flea infestations around your home.