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Getting Rid of Fleas: Step By Step

Fleas have been bothering people and their pets since the beginning of time. Although not terribly dangerous many animals and people are allergic to their bites, making flea infestations miserable. Here’s how to get rid of them.

Allergic Reactions to Flea Bites:

Fleas inject saliva to stop coagulation when they bite. It’s this salvia that causes allergic reactions in animals and people. Humans react with dermatitis, skin lesions and mild to severe itching. Try applying ice, menthol, camphor or calamine lotion to your flea bites. Insect repellents that containing thyltoluamide (DEET) will repel fleas and lessen the frequency of bites; use these repellents only on your clothing but never on skin or pets. If you are having serious allergies, a doctor can prescribe you something to help while you get the infestation under control.

There are many dogs and cats that are allergic to fleas and will chew themselves raw. With the advent of so many great flea medicines for animals there is really no need for them to suffer anymore. If your pets have been bitten recently however, your vet can prescribe medication to soothe the itching.

Removing Fleas From People and Pets:

If your pet becomes infested with fleas there are some products that your vet can prescribe. Capstar is a pill that kills all the fleas on your dog or cat within an hour. Frontline, Advantage and other topical medications can also kill the fleas on your pet within hours. When Frontline and Advantage is used monthly it will keep the fleas off of your pets permanently. Treat your poor infested friend for fleas first and then focus on the environment to put a stop to further infestation.

Fleas generally don’t like to live on people, but they will visit you long enough for a quick bite. If you’ve been exposed to an infestation, wash your clothes in hot water with detergent and jump into the shower yourself. The fleas will drown in the soapy water. The next important thing is to remove them from the environment.

Removing Fleas From The Environment:

Fleas end their lives living on a host animal, but your pets are not actually the source of your flea infestation. Your home is. Fleas begin their life as eggs which are laid on the host, but fall off everywhere. The eggs then hatch into larvae that feed off of skin flakes and the dried-blood droppings of adults. Eggs can lay dormant for as long as a year. Killing the fleas is the first step. Getting rid of larvae and eggs is the next critical part of eliminating fleas. Here are the best methods.

Collect anything that cannot be vacuumed and throw it the washer on the hottest setting with laundry detergent. This will kill eggs and larvae. Then vacuum everything. Use the vacuum attachments and get all the corners, crevices and upholstery. Be as thorough as possible. This will get rid of most of the fleas. After vacuuming, remove the vacuum bag, sprinkle flea powder inside, seal it in a plastic bag and throw it in the trash outside. You may also want to have your carpet steam cleaned by a professional to get rid of any eggs or larvae that may be hanging on to your carpets fibers.

Once you get everything mostly flea-free, the best defense against them is to not allow them to remake your home into a stronghold. If you keep your pet on flea medication your house will most likely remain flea-free, but here are some recommended preventative habits to be safe:

  1. Vacuum frequently to keep larvae and eggs from gathering in your carpet.
  2. Wash you pets bedding frequently
  3. Keep you pet current on its flea medication

The above method should keep everything under control. When the remaining larvae hatch, they are likely to jump on your dog and be killed by the medications. If you are still having trouble in your home steam clean or shampoo the carpets in your home as frequently as is needed. If this still isn’t enough, it’s time to call a professional or speak with your veterinarian who may have some great suggestions!

Popular Flea Control Products:

Talk to your vet when deciding on treatments for your animals and environment. Follow the directions carefully and never give medication that’s for a dog to a cat or vice versa. Also keep all medications and flea poisons out of the reach of pets and children.

Sorptive dusts kill fleas by dehydrating them; they absorb their moisture and damage their bodies. These dusts can be applied to carpets before vacuuming when you have an infestation of adults in your carpet.

Pyrethrins is derived from the chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium flower and is one of the least toxic flea control products available. They can be good for environmental control.

Flea collars work by constantly emitting poisonous vapors that kill any fleas on the animals. They work, but not nearly as well as the topical treatments or oral treatments that are available today.

Sprays and powders are not really worth the time and money when there are so many easier and moderately inexpensive methods for killing fleas. Flea dips can be a good choice for larger dogs that are expensive to treat with medications. Again, talk to your vet.

Mark shares more about how to kill fleas at; the web's #1 resource for getting rid of things.