You may think that fleas are just irritating pests that bite and leave itchy bite wounds. But while itchy bites are certainly the most probable outcome of having fleas, fleas can harm you and your pets in other, more surprising, ways. Have you heard of cat scratch disease? An Ohio woman hadn’t heard of it and woke up one morning completely blind in one eye. Her attending physician was stumped until she mentioned that her cats lick her face around her eyes. This is one of the ways the Bartonella bacteria that causes cat scratch disease is able to get into the body. At least 40% of cats carry this bacteria at some point in their lives. Let’s take a look at a few more ways fleas can make you and your pets sick.
Exposure to Flea Dirt
The feces that fleas leave on animals and ultimately on bedding or the floor is called flea dirt. This flea dirt is what developing flea larvae eat to survive because they aren’t able to bite and get blood. When flea dirt falls off of pets, it can present a hazard. If flea dirt gets into an open wound, such as a scratch, it can cause flea-borne typhus, which is a flu-like illness that includes a rash. Most people recover from this illness on their own but severe cases can lead to damage of internal organs. Fortunately, these cases are rare.
Exposure to Parasites
When fleas infest a home, there is a danger that pets, and sometimes people, can digest tapeworms. These tiny parasites live inside fleas and get into the digestive tract of dogs and cats when they accidentally eat fleas during grooming. They can get into people when fleas get into a food source by accident. Once inside the digestive tract, they can grow large and create many painful problems.
If a flea infestation is not addressed, it can lead to issues of anemia for pets and people. This is a result of persistent bloodletting. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, cramps, pale skin, shortness of breath during exercise, insomnia, and more.
The Plague and More
There are many diseases that can be transmitted by fleas, including the bubonic plague. Yes, that’s still a thing. Fortunately, cases are rare and there is treatment for it. But it is extremely unpleasant and still potentially deadly.
All of this is why it is so important to learn how to get rid of fleas in your South Carolina home and to protect your home from these potentially dangerous insects.
5 Flea Prevention Tips That Actually Work
There are a lot of suggestions on the internet for how to stop fleas. The experts here at Spencer Pest Services suggest these dos and don’ts:
- Don’t use natural, home or cooky remedies to prevent flea infestations or to get rid of fleas. Things like Windex, lavender, apple cider vinegar, diatomaceous earth, etc. These just don’t work.
- Make sure your pets have flea collars and that they have a fenced-in play area outside of your home.
- Reduce wildlife activity around your home to reduce fleas. You can do this by reducing moisture, removing conditions that allow puddles to form, sealing exterior trash in containers, removing objects used as hiding places, and keeping vegetation trimmed.
- Consider ongoing residential pest control to reduce bugs that wildlife feed on and to eliminate flea larvae that try to develop near your home.
- Seal entry points in your exterior to keep rodents out.
When dealing with fleas in Greenville, or any other pests, remember that the highly-trained pest professionals at Spencer Pest Services are standing by to help. Our family is here to help your family. Don’t hesitate, reach out to us today!