Fleas are one of the most prolific pests. Pet owners, those who spend time outdoors, and anyone else, really, is at risk of the painful, uncomfortable bites from the tiny, wingless parasite. They can jump up to 50 times their three millimeter length, their powerful claws keep them attached to even the most relentless itching from their host, and, as a result of their blood-sucking and biting tendencies, they can cause everything from discomfort to disease.
The good thing about fleas? There are plenty of natural remedies for getting rid of flea bites and the perpetrators themselves. Employing a few of these steps can help keep you, your pets, and your household flea-free.
Top Natural Remedies to Treat Flea Bites
Prevention is the best policy
In most cases, fleas get into your home through your pets. When your animals are outside, fleas jump on, hide in their fur, and start reproducing. One female can lay up to 50 eggs each day and she can lay up to 20 each time after she’s eaten. Some sources say females can lay up to 500 eggs in their two- to three-month lifespan. In about 12 days, the eggs will hatch and, as long as they can find food, will continue to live and reproduce.
Since most animals will pick up fleas in their own yards, make sure to keep your yard and your pet well-groomed. Short grass is a detractor for fleas, and regular pet grooming can help you spot a problem early-on. Some homeowners have found that planting eucalyptus trees has helped in the prevention department, since the trees are natural flea repellents.
Take action immediately
Once you’ve discovered your pets have fleas, you need to take an aggressive, proactive approach. Some have used flea drops, which can kill fleas at any stage of the life cycle, from eggs to adults. The liquid should be applied directly to the skin, where it can be absorbed and more effective. Most flea drops can kill between 80 and 98 percent of fleas in the first 24 hours. Comb through your pet’s fur and then vacuum anything that comes out of the fur when combing.
The more you scratch, the greater your chance of developing an infection, which can quickly enter your bloodstream and cause more serious health problems. There are different creams or lotions that can shrink the swelling and decrease the odds of an infection. You might also consider taking an antihistamine, under a doctor’s recommendation and observation, as this will help to lower the reactionary response in your body. Immediately, you might want to try applying ice or cold water to the site, as that will help give you rapid relief.
Use natural itch-relievers
For a more natural treatment for the itching, consider using aloe vera, witch hazel, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, used tea bags or tea tree oil. Applying these directly to the flea bite can help to reduce the inflammation and soothe the area. Some, like rubbing alcohol, dries the bites, while others, like aloe vera, tea tree oil, and cooled used tea bags can help to relieve the swelling.
Another option to prevent the swelling and itching is arnica montana, an herbal medicine from the leopard’s bane flower that can help to reduce inflammation.
Take care of your house
While some essential oils can be used on your skin, others can be used around your house to keep fleas away. Just as the eucalyptus tree is effective outside, eucalyptus oil is useful inside the house. You might also try cedar, citrus, lemongrass, peppermint, rosewood, and tea tree essential oils. Mix a few drops with water and spray the mixture around your house.
Make a flea trap
Some have found that mixing equal parts of hot water and liquid hand soap in a bowl near a small lamp attracts fleas. They are drawn to the trap by the warmth of the lamp and end up falling into the bowl and drowning.
Don’t just vacuum
While it’s very important to vacuum your floor and keep carpets clean of fleas, adding Borax powder or diatomaceous earth powder before you vacuum your carpet or hardwood floors. Create a shaker with a glass jar by punching holes in the lid. Since Borax can be toxic, remove children and pets from the area while working, and wear appropriate personal protective equipment, like gloves, goggles, old shoes and a dust mask.
Clean as many accessories, like end tables and photos, out of the room as possible, then sprinkle the Borax on the furniture, throw pillows, and floor. Use a stiff brush to get the Borax into the carpet fibers and flooring grooves, where it will kill fleas at any life cycle stage. Leave it overnight, and then vacuum thoroughly the next morning. Replace your vacuum cleaner bag, disposing of the old one outside immediately.
I hope this list has helped you find new ways to treat fleas in your house. Since these parasites can be so damaging, it’s vitally important that you take prompt, proactive measures when you see them, and using natural remedies can give you and your family a safe environment.
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