If you notice a group of small dots on your skin, they could be either bedbug bites or flea bites. It can be difficult to tell the difference between them. Flea bites are usually found on the lower half of your body or in warm, moist areas like the bends of elbows and knees. Bedbug bites are often on the upper half of your body, around the face, neck, and arms.
Keep reading to learn about the symptoms, risk factors, and treatments of each type of bite.
Fleas are tiny, blood-sucking insects. Five percent of the flea population lives on pets, which is generally how humans get flea bites. Fleas can’t fly, but they can jump up to 18 centimeters. As soon as they latch on to a host, they begin biting.
Common symptoms of flea bites include small red marks on your skin and intense itching. The bites are sometimes grouped together in threes.
Flea bites generally occur on or near the:
- feet and lower legs
- elbows and knees (in the bend)
- other skin folds
If you’re allergic to fleas, you may develop hives or a rash. The affected area may also swell and blister. If a blister appears and breaks, it may lead to an infection. If you scratch the affected area and break open the skin, you may also get a secondary infection from the bites.
Fleas can infest your skin. For example, burrowing fleas can cause an infestation called tungiasis. It almost always occurs around the feet and toes. This tropical or subtropical flea can dig under your skin to feed. The flea will die after two weeks, but it often causes a complicated skin infection afterward.
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