Fleas are tiny, reddish-brown parasites that bite the skin of their host and suck blood to survive. Most people believe that fleas only live on pets like cats and dogs, but these parasites can also live on humans, especially in their dirty clothes and human hair. Continue reading to learn how you can get rid of fleas in human hair.
Can Fleas Live in Human Hair?
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According to research, there exist over 2,000 species of fleas in the world today, but only one of these species survives on human blood. This class of flea is known as Pulex Irritans, and it can live in human hair. Moreover, the other species of fleas can use human hair as a conduit to get to their preferred source of blood.
But this doesn’t mean that fleas only feast on animals won’t bite you. In fact, human fleas look almost the same as other types of fleas. But they have fewer mouth bristles than other species of fleas. Therefore, you need to use a microscope to know which type of fleas you are dealing with.
So, the most important thing is to know how to deal with all types of fleas. That way, you won’t have to go through the trouble of trying to identify the specific species of fleas in your human hair.
How Do I Know If I Have Fleas in My Hair?
Fleas can live in your human hair for a long time without you even realizing it, especially if they are not human fleas. That’s why it is important to wash your human hair thoroughly once in a while.
However, there are some common signs of flea infestation that you should look for.
1. Several dot-like bugs in your hair.
If you look closely at your human hair that is infested with fleas, you will notice the tiny dot-like parasites crawling about your hair. And if you check the fur coat of your hair, you will find a lot of brown and black remains of the fleas.
2. Constant Itchiness.
If your human hair has fleas, you will always feel the urge to scratch your head. This happens when the tiny parasites bite you. A fleabite, especially by a human flea, is very itchy. It also leaves a red lump on your skin.
Sometimes the lump develops a red crown, especially if your body is sensitive to flea saliva. Sadly, human fleas have been found to spread diseases. Other signs of fleabites include hives, rashes, and inflammation around the bite.
Why Do I Have Fleas in My Hair?
Since fleas survive on blood, they breed close to the resting and sleeping places of their host. Therefore, you will find them in dust, rubbish, cracks in the floor or walls, carpets, linings, animal burrows, and birds’ nests. These parasites require high humidity to develop.
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When the larva reaches the end, it spins a wobbly whitish sheath within which it matures into a pupa. Adult fleas develop fully within 1–2 weeks. But they only emerge from their cocoons after getting a stimulus, like the vibrations caused by the host when it moves.
So, when human beings move into vacant houses, they can cause many fleas to surface concurrently from the shells and attack them in large numbers. Cocoons can survive for up to one year. But under normal circumstances, the development of fleas from eggs to adults takes 2–3 weeks.
Fleas hate light. That’s why they are commonly found in the hair or feathers of their host. They also hide in beds and in people’s clothing. Since fleas move around by jumping, they can easily jump from your pets to your clothes or hair.
So, if your pets are infested with fleas, you are likely going to find them in your hair. Also, if you do not wash your hair, clothes, and carpets regularly, you are providing the tiny parasites with a perfect place to proliferate. The same thing happens if there isn’t enough light in your house.
What Harm Do Fleas Cause?
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Both humans and animals are at risk of getting fleabites. This risk increases with the number of pets you own. Fleabites are extremely itchy and painful. Sometimes fleabites can cause skin inflammation, especially if you are allergic to flea saliva.
A fleabite can also become infected and expose you to serious health complications. You should seek your doctor’s advice if you develop swollen glands, experience serious pain around the fleabite, or develop excessive redness.
It is also advisable to see a medical doctor if you experience difficulty breathing, nausea, or swelling of lips or face when a flea bites you. Fleas are also known to spread human diseases, such as plague, typhus, cat scratch fever, flea-borne spotted fever, and many more.
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Human Hair
1. Ensure your pets don’t have fleas.
Since pets are the primary hosts of fleas in the house, it is important to make sure your pets don’t have fleas. You can achieve this by giving your pets the right flea treatment continuously. This helps to eliminate adult fleas and stop new ones from emerging.
2. Keep your home flea-free.
Apart from animals, fleas also find a safe haven in carpets, beddings, floor and wall cracks, and throw rugs. They also survive in dark spaces in your house. So, to keep these parasites out of your house, you need to make sure there is enough light even in the most hidden corners.
3. Clean your carpets, clothes, beddings, and rugs frequently with soap and water.
Vacuum the larger rugs, sofas, chairs, and cushions. After cleaning your upholstery furniture and carpets, treat them with a flea spray to eliminate even the cocoons that haven’t hatched.
4. Cover yourself.
Since fleas hide in carpets, beddings, furniture, and rugs, you should always cover yourself by wearing long pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts to prevent flea bites. You can also protect yourself by putting on a bug spray that has DEET, especially when you are treating flea infestation in your house.
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1. Lemon spray.
This involves making a citrus spray by boiling thin slices of lemon in water. Allow the citrus mixture to sit for a night and pour it into a spray bottle. In the morning, spray the mixture on your hair and clothes to kill the parasites. Repeat this process after a day or two until you no longer have fleas in your hair.
2. Baking soda.
For this treatment method to work, you need to rub the baking soda into your hair with your hands, leave it to rest for one hour, then wash your hair thoroughly with soap and water. This is not a one-off solution; you need to repeat it as many times as possible until all fleas are eliminated.
The tiny remains of fossilized algae are referred to as diatoms. They form a very fine powder, which is completely safe for humans and a highly effective remedy for fleas. This powder kills fleas by causing dehydration.
For this treatment method to be effective, you need to rub a small amount of the powder into your hair with your hands and leave it to do its magic for a few hours, then wash your hair thoroughly with soap and water.
Since flea eggs are resistant to pesticides and can’t be destroyed until they hatch, you have to repeat this treatment process after several days until all fleas are eliminated.
4. Hot water, lemon, and detergent.
For this treatment method to work, you need to soak your hair in a mixture of hot water (the water should be as hot as can be tolerated), lemon extract, and plain dish detergent. The detergent contains fatty acids that will destroy both adult fleas and the larvae instantly, especially when combined with the limonene from the lemon extract.
Repeat this bathing trick twice a week until all fleas are eliminated. When these treatment methods are combined with other products designed to remove fleas from your clothes, beddings, furniture, carpets, and other parts of your home, the parasite infestation should be dealt with in a flash.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can a dog and cat fleas get to humans?
Yes, cat and dog fleas can get to humans. Since these parasites move around by jumping, they can easily jump from cats and dogs to humans, especially when they hold them.
2. How do I know if I have been bitten by a flea?
After a fleabite, your body reacts to the flea saliva by releasing a chemical known as histamine. This chemical causes a red, itchy bump to form around the bite. The bite gets bigger when you scratch it.
3. How long do flea infestations last?
A flea’s lifespan depends on the surrounding environmental conditions. These parasites flourish in humid weather with a temperature range of 80-90°F. So, if the weather is not ideal for the fleas and there are no hosts to suck blood from, they will die naturally in a matter of weeks or months.
It is quite embarrassing to have fleas in your hair because they show a lack of personal hygiene. But it’s my hope that this article will help you learn how to get rid of fleas in human hair. The good thing about these remedies is that they are simple and affordable.
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