fleas biting me? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-24-2007, 10:24 AM
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I'm going bezonkers. I keep getting bitten by something and none of the descriptions of bites from fleas, mites, chiggers, etc. quite fits. However I have seen flea feces on blankets & such from my cat.



I regularly have 10-20 bites on each limb & on my torso & neck as well. It's not a rash, my dermatologist agrees they're bites. They're not concentrated in any particular areas.



It doesn't happen when I go to someone else's house for a few days, so it's probably my room and/or apartment-house. Again, I know there are fleas around, although I have never seen any. But no evidence of bedbugs. I have seen some gnat-type creatures flying around.



It's so itchy I have trouble getting to sleep, and even with prescription-strength hydrocortisone cream I scratch them until they scab over. It's just like getting mosquito bites except that you can see mosquitos when they bite you. (I'm in the DC area)



I have several chronic medical problems to deal with, as well as two new ones, and my dad just got diagnosed with a nasty type of cancer!! I feel like one of those people who for some reason attract crises, often through their own behavior. But anyway, does anybody have any suggestions?
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#2 Old 01-25-2007, 09:33 AM
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Fleas do in fact bite humans, and it sounds like your cat has fleas, so thats where they'd be coming from. First off, you need to get rid of the fleas on your cat. Go to the vet and get some Frontline or Advantage. Vacuum your entire house, including hardwood floors, and throw the vacuum bag out outside of the house (or empty the canister into a plastic bag, tie it up, throw it away outside). Do this daily if you can. Also, wash all your bedding and all your cat's bedding in HOT water. Continuing treating your house and your cat for at least 3 months to ensure you've gotten rid of the fleas, and any future fleas that hatch from flea eggs.



ETA: After treating the cat for fleas, talk to your vet about deworming for tapeworm, since cats get tapeworms from swallowing fleas. Yum.

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#3 Old 01-25-2007, 09:46 AM
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If you're seeing flea dirt on your blankets then you probably have flea eggs/larve/adults there as well. First step is to get rid of the fleas on the cat. Buy some Frontline, it kills the eggs and larve in addition to the adults. (This website has the cheapest price I have found http://www.petshed.com/frontline-plus.asp) Second was all of your bedding in hot water. Third sprinkle Borax on the carpet, upholstery and mattresses, then vacuum everything. Make sure you dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag immediately. If you have a serious infestation you may want to use an insect fogger as well.
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#4 Old 01-26-2007, 12:08 PM
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Differently people may react differently to flea bites, and the variety of flea may make a difference too. But generally the bites cause dime-sized red marks around a tiny hole in the middle. The marks get very red and very itchy and can stay that way for days or weeks and will drive you insane, as every thing you do to avoid getting another bite doesn't work. Flea eggs survive despite prodigious efforts to kill them. If you have carpeting it may have to be shampood with an insecticidal shampoo several times before you kill all the flea eggs. You may have to get rid of the animal that is supporting the fleas. You may have to wash every single item of cloth that is anywhere near you, in insectidicidal detergent, several times. You will have to take several baths per day (not showers) in insecticidal water, lingering at least 10 minutes in each bath (long enough for the insectides to penetrate all the eggs stuck on your skin or hair). The insecticides may be absorbed by your skin and may you feel ill, but probably not as ill as the fleas make you feel. You will have to keep deet on your skin at all times, between insecticidal baths, for a few weeks, maybe 2 months.



Adult fleas don't like insecticidal baths and after soaking a minute you may see a tiny black speck jump 3 feet into the air, usually out of the tub and onto the bathmat which you will then have to wash again in insecticidal detergent. One or 2 fleas can give you 10 or 20 bites.
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#5 Old 01-26-2007, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soilman View Post

You may have to get rid of the animal that is supporting the fleas. You may have to wash every single item of cloth that is anywhere near you, in insectidicidal detergent, several times. You will have to take several baths per day (not showers) in insecticidal water, lingering at least 10 minutes in each bath (long enough for the insectides to penetrate all the eggs stuck on your skin or hair). The insecticides may be absorbed by your skin and may you feel ill, but probably not as ill as the fleas make you feel. You will have to keep deet on your skin at all times, between insecticidal baths, for a few weeks, maybe 2 months.



Yea... I disagree with that. In 5 years in animal hospital work, I've never once seen someone need to give away their animal because of fleas, or go through all that nonsense. In the most extreme cases, the cats were brought to the vet for the night so that their house could be bombed for fleas. The cat was treated with capstar upon arriving at the vet (a one time pill that kills all the fleas on the animal within hours) then treated with the topical (which can take up to 24 hrs to work) and the animal was sent home flea free to a flea free house.



If you use either Frontline or Advantage on your animal for 3 consecutive months and do absolutely nothing else to treat the environment, then you won't have fleas anymore.. but who wants to wait 3 months? :P

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#6 Old 01-26-2007, 11:13 PM
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"In the most extreme cases, the cats were brought to the vet for the night so that their house could be bombed for fleas."



Simply removing the cat, or the dog (a large dog will support more fleas than a little old cat) from the house is not sufficient. You have to remove all the humans too. And if you have paying roomates, you have to pay all their hotel bills for the day. Then you may need to hire a professional to "bomb" the house. If the house does not have carpeting, this may work. Just make sure all the food is removed from the cupboards first, unless it is canned or hermetically sealed, or in the fridge or freezer. All other food needs to be removed. As do wooden cutting boards and other porous surfaces that can absorb insecticide and later come in contact with food. If the house has carpeting, simply bombing the house may not be enough. The flea eggs can be lodged deep down in the carpet and not be reached by insecticide applied aerially. You may have to shampoo the carpet with insecticide added to the shampoo.



If you have other animals they will have to be boarded for awhile also. Birds, fish, etcetera.



I suppose those of you who eat organic food because they don't like insecticides on their food, are happy to bomb their whole house with insecticides. I'm not. The only route for insectides get into your system faster, than thru your digestive system - is thru your lungs. The typical synthetic pyrethroids used in flea-bombs linger in the air, and on surfaces for weeks. They proudly indicate that on the label: "continues killing for weeks."
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#7 Old 01-28-2007, 08:11 PM
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It seems like rabid child knows what she is talking about...



Unless you have a severe infection, usually vacuuming regularily (especially the dark corners etc.) and using a flea prevention/killer on your pets for a few months will take care of the problem.



Fleas will occasionally bite people, but they cannot live off you. Their primary host is dogs/cats ..among some other critters.



If you have an allergy to flea saliva, the bites may be especially irritating.
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#8 Old 01-29-2007, 02:10 AM
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"Fleas will occasionally bite people, but they cannot live off you. Their primary host is dogs/cats ..among some other critters."



makes no difference. They jumped onto me, and they refused to get off. Whether they were actually "living off me" or living off their parents and just hanging out on me, and having pizza and Chinese food delivered to me, doesn't seem to make much difference. Repeated baths, 2 or 3 times a day, did not get rid of them. Repeated dosing with shampoo for lice and keeping repellant on me 24-7 finally got rid of them, after a few weeks. If I missed a shampoo or let too many hours go by without applying repellant - there they were again. I saw only one or 2 fleas but I got 10 or 20 dime-size very very red and agonizingly itchy welts. Mostly near my clothing lines - belt line, around ankles. They drove me crazy. I finally got rid of them, then I had to go to this person's house again, someone who had 2 dogs and 3 cats - and everything started all over again.



After that, every time I had to tune a piano in someone's house who had a dog or a cat, I started getting itchy even before I saw any actual flea bites and some of the larger bite-reactions would return months later, in the absense of any new bites. It has been proven that this can happen. The red welt goes away, then months later you get one flea bite, or one mosquito bite and several of your old flea-bite welts returns for awhile, before they go way again. That's right, the reaction to the new flea or mosquito bite causes the old flea bite welts to re-appear. Your body "remembers" your immune response to the flea proteins, and repeats them, in the same old bite-spots, even tho the single new bite is in a new spot. Our immune systems are amazing. This also shows that at least some of the redness and itching is due, not so much to the flea proteins, but to our body's response to them. The same is true, by the way, about many of the effects of many drugs. The effects we experience are not really the effects of the drug. The effects we experience are our body's response to the drug. People often sense this directly, when taking so-called entheogen's. They feel that "this is me." And it is.
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#9 Old 01-29-2007, 04:29 AM
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I had a very bad flea infestation a few years ago (cat fleas) and besides using Advantage on the cat and doing sheets, blankets and pillow covers, I had the house cleaned very thoroughly 2-3 times in succession with a Dettol solution (I hired someone to do that and gave specific instructions). My daughter was a newborn back then and we didn't want to bomb the house unless it was absolutely necessary because even if we went out for a few days, the fall-out would have lingered for weeks... We were lucky not to have any carpet in that house, only hardwood floors, so vacuuming and the Dettol thing took care of it.
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#10 Old 01-29-2007, 09:14 AM
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OK it's much better now. I took the huge blanket-type thing that I couldn't launder outside and vaccuumed everything else. Karma-cat has not even been treated yet (still waiting for the Revolution to arrive in the mail.)! But there are far fewer new bites.



Quote:
Originally Posted by soilman View Post

...The marks get very red and very itchy and can stay that way for days or weeks and will drive you insane, as every thing you do to avoid getting another bite doesn't work. ... You may have to wash every single item of cloth that is anywhere near you, in insectidicidal detergent, several times. ...Adult fleas don't like insecticidal baths and after soaking a minute you may see a tiny black speck jump 3 feet into the air, usually out of the tub and onto the bathmat which you will then have to wash again in insecticidal detergent. One or 2 fleas can give you 10 or 20 bites.



It's not everyday I meet someone with more severe skin reactions than me, soilman! You definitely have my sympathy and respect for coping with all that.



Very interesting about the old welts coming back. I had noticed that some areas adjacent to the bites seemed to be reacting too, although they didn't show bite marks. I thought maybe the histamines were affecting surrounding areas where there was some weakness in the skin? (considering that every inch of skin has a history of bites, it would all qualify!)



Since it wasn't primarily in the normal flea-vulnerable areas, and I've also just developed severe rosacea & seborrhea on my face, I wasn't sure if it was more complicated. But it was flea bites after all.



I've read about some mysterious bedbug-type creatures that only a handful of individuals have been plagued with, in spite of changing mattresses etc. The spouses were not affected, but the sufferer wouldn't be able to sleep. And from the writing, it didn't sound entirely psychosomatic.



Blue plastic straw, thanks for the link! I did use them, although I went with Revolution, b/c it also lists mange, mites, and heartworm. And I hope, also treats the environment.



Fun facts: Cat fleas are the most common, even in dogs and humans. However cats eat them pretty diligently, so adult fleas are much more difficult to find on cats. Also, the larvae live off of the feces of the adults, which is why its so important to get rid of the feces, too, everyone pointed out. Thanks!
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#11 Old 01-29-2007, 10:47 AM
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"Also, the larvae live off of the feces of the adults, "



Goodness gracious. Well, getting rid of the feces is not to hard, on most humans except for a few exceptionally furry ones. Even then - they could always shave. But the adult fleas seem to jump back on again, after you get them off. They lay in wait, in carpeting or something, then they jump back on.
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#12 Old 01-29-2007, 11:55 AM
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This all sounds a bit extreme. We dealt with our flea infestation simply by putting advantage on all the pets, and sprinkling this flea stuff on the carpet, waiting for a while, jumping up and down on the floor to encourage the eggs to hatch, waiting a bit more, vacumning it up, and then having a shower.

I'm guessing our infestation wasn't as bad as what some of you have dealt with.
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#13 Old 01-29-2007, 02:36 PM
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"sprinkling this flea stuff on the carpet,"



probably not a good idea if you have infants crawling around on the carpet. Many of the pyrethroid insecticides in common use for things such as killing fleas, kill insects, and remain a bit toxic to humans, for a good few weeks. Vaccuming up the particles that are used to distribute it the insecticide, does not necessarily vacuum up all the insectide. Most likely some of the insecticide leaves the particles by evaporation and remains clinging to the carpet fibers, and between them.
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#14 Old 01-29-2007, 04:43 PM
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Well, we didn't have any infants. But that's a good point for anyone who does.
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