What Happens When a Flea Bites You?

It’s hard to believe that something just 1-3 mm long can cause so much discomfort and grief, but fleas remain one of the world’s most troubling pests. Scientists believe they’ve existed for millions of years, evolving and adapting to their surrounding environment. Today, there are an estimated 2,000 different species of fleas, many of which actively target the blood of dogs, cats and even people. But what happens when a flea bites into your skin?

You can always perform an experiment by placing yourself in a heavily flea-infested environment, but this isn’t recommended. These blood-sucking pests are more than just a nuisance; they pose a real threat to your health if they are carrying any diseases or bacteria. If you’re wondering what happens when a flea bites you, keep reading as we take a closer look at this question.

Note: everyone reacts differently to flea bites. Before we start, it’s important to note that everyone reacts differently to flea bites. Some people may develop large red bumps, while others may blend into their skin with minimal visibility. The protein compounds in flea saliva triggers an allergic reaction in some people, creating side effects such as redness and swelling. Also known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD), it’s a fairly common allergy that both people and pets experience.

Symptoms of a Flea Bite

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Formation of visible red bumps, similar to acne or skin blemishes

When a flea bites into your skin, it immediately begins to withdraw blood using its hollowed tube-like mouth parts. During this time, it also releases saliva back into your bloodstream, which is where the real problem lies. This saliva may not only trigger an allergic reaction, but it can also carry tapeworms, parasites and bacteria. Flea-borne disease is actually more common than you may realize, so don’t underestimate the impact of a flea infestation in your home.

You can read through some of our previous blog posts here at fleabitesonhumans.com for more information on how to treat flea bites, but the key thing to remember is not to scratch them! Scratching them only makes the problem worse by turning the bites into open wounds. Instead, apply a small amount of calamine lotion to relieve the intense itching sensation and take the necessary action to remove the pests from your home.


Flea bites on a woman’s back.

Have you ever been bitten by a flea? Let us know your experience in the comments section below!