If you’ve ever had a flea bite, you know that these small red bumps on your skin can be very itchy and you need to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Flea bites on humans cause an intense itch that makes you scratch your skin, which then seems to make the severe itchiness of the bite even worse. Although fleas don’t live on humans, they can jump onto you and bite you when dogs, cats or other pets bring them into the home.
Fleas can cause a lot of discomfort for your pets as well. Flea bites on dogs and cats cause them to scratch a lot. In fact, if you have noticed your pets scratching, it could be one of the first signs that they have fleas.
Fleas tend to bite humans around the ankles and wrists as these areas are usually in more contact with pets. However, you may also get flea bites on other warm, soft areas of your body like your waist, armpits, and the backs of your elbows and knees. Flea bites look like small red spots which can be in clusters of 3-4 bites. Your body’s immune reaction to the flea bite causes your skin to swell and become red and itchy.
Many home remedies can help you get rid of flea bites quickly and naturally. Natural remedies like aloe vera, coconut oil, and baking soda can help to soothe itchy skin and can be used for both human flea bites and flea bites on dogs and cats. Essential oils can be used as a natural flea bite treatment for humans, however, they shouldn’t be used on pets. They help to reduce itchiness and stop infections in human flea bites.
Let’s look at the many natural home remedies for flea bites. These remedies will give you quick relief from the discomfort and irritation that flea bites cause.
Natural Home Remedies for Flea Bites
One of the first courses of action if you have flea bites is to make sure and get rid of any fleas from your pets and your home. However, you still need to treat the red itchy bumps on yourself and your pets. Here are some of the best natural flea bite treatments for humans and pets.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Raw unprocessed apple cider vinegar can give you quick relief from the itchiness caused by a flea bite. The acetic acid content in ACV helps to balance the pH levels on your skin to reduce itching and inflammation.
When discussing how to reduce itchy skin (pruritus), the journal Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy said that topical applications that have a low pH can help to reduce itching.1 The effect of acidic applications like apple cider vinegar can help to protect the skin’s barrier function and maintain a normal acidic pH skin level.
To use the acidic properties of apple cider vinegar to stop itching caused by flea bites, you should dilute equal parts of raw ACV and water. Using a cotton ball, apply the diluted ACV home remedy to the itchy flea bites for quick and fast relief from the discomfort and irritation. Use apple cider vinegar any time when you need to get rid of a flea bite itch on yourself or your pet.
Apple cider vinegar has many other benefits for your skin. For example, you can use ACV as a face wash to help keep your complexion healthy and free of pimples. Or you can rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar to help get rid of dandruff.
Lemon juice can also be used as a natural flea bite treatment for humans and pets. The acidic effect of lemon juice on itchy skin is similar to apple cider vinegar. It helps to normalize the high pH level of red, itchy skin. The citric acid helps to quickly treat flea bites and relieves the itching associated with them.
To use lemon juice as a natural flea bite remedy, apply lemon juice directly to the itchy red spots for instant itch relief.
To get rid of itchy flea bites on humans or pets, you can use baking soda for its anti-inflammatory properties. Baking soda is a natural and cheap remedy for many itchy skin complaints, as well as acne and pimples.
Dr. David Derrer on WebMD recommends using a baking soda paste to relieve redness and itchiness of flea bites or insect bites.2 Baking soda also has antimicrobial properties which can help prevent secondary infections occurring if you scratch and damage the skin around the flea bite.3
It is very easy to make this effective home remedy to speed up the healing process and soothe the irritation caused by flea bites. Make a thick paste using some baking soda and a small amount of water. Apply the paste to the inflamed itchy spots and leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Use the baking soda flea treatment 2-3 times a day until the itchiness has gone.
Baking soda is also safe enough to be used as a natural flea bite remedy for dogs and cats. In fact, if your pet has many flea bites, you can help your dog get relief from flea bite itching by adding baking soda to his/her bath. You should sprinkle baking soda into your dog’s bath water then wash and dry as normal. This will help to reduce the itchiness on your dog’s skin and stop him/her scratching so much.
Oatmeal is commonly used to alleviate a number of skin complaints, and you can use oatmeal as a natural flea bite remedy. It contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help to reduce redness, calm inflamed skin, and prevent skin infections.
According to the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology, oatmeal’s moisturizing properties also help to relieve skin itching and irritation. It does this by balancing the skin’s pH levels and locking in moisture. The study concluded that oatmeal is an effective natural remedy to provide relief from various itchy skin conditions and insect bites.4
To make a natural home remedy for flea bites using oatmeal, you should grind a cup of oatmeal into a fine powder. Make a soothing paste by combining equal amounts of oatmeal and plain yogurt to make a thick paste. You can also add a little honey for its antibacterial properties. Apply the oatmeal remedy to the areas where fleas have bitten you or your pets and leave for 20-30 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Repeat the process 2-3 times a day until all itchiness from the flea bites have gone.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic recommend using an oatmeal bath to relieve itching from large areas of the body.5 This is an effective natural way to treat flea bites on pets. To make an oatmeal bath to treat flea bites on dogs, prepare a warm bath and sprinkle one cup of ground oatmeal onto the bath water. Mix well. Use the water and oatmeal mix to wash your dog’s fur. The cleansing properties of oatmeal mean that you don’t have to add any soap to the water. Bathe your dog regularly in the oatmeal mixture to ease the discomfort caused by flea bites.
Among the many medicinal properties of raw, natural honey is its ability to alleviate itching and help repair damaged skin. You can apply raw honey directly to the itchy flea bites for quick relief from the urge to scratch.
An interesting study into the soothing effects of honey on irritated skin showed that it can help to reduce the symptoms of itchy skin. Honey was applied to the scalp of people with chronic seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff (both of which are associated with itchiness). The result was a marked reduction in itching and it helped the skin to heal quicker.6 The study also mentioned that honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties that can prevent skin infections from developing.
Manuka is the best type of honey for flea bites because of its therapeutic effect on itchy skin. You just need to apply a little honey to the affected area to soothe the itch and reduce inflammation. Apply as needed throughout the day every time you get the urge to scratch the itchy skin.
Pure aloe vera gel can help flea bites heal quicker. Aloe vera is a great all-around natural remedy to keep skin moisturized and healthy. The reason that aloe vera gel is so great healing skin conditions is that it contains anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties which can soothe inflamed skin.
Aloe vera gel has been shown to be more effective at treating skin conditions than many pharmaceutical products. For example, the Society for Dermopharmacy published a study showing that aloe vera gel was more effective than 1% hydrocortisone cream.7 Hydrocortisone creams are usually recommended by doctors to treat skin inflammation and reduce the symptoms of insect bites.
Apply pure aloe vera gel directly to the itchy flea bites to get rid of the irritating itchiness and reduce swelling around the bite. Use the natural aloe vera remedy for flea bites 2-3 times a day until the discomfort has gone for good and you no longer have itchy red flea bites.
Witch hazel is another quick and natural home remedy to treat flea bites. Witch hazel is a natural astringent which reduces itchiness and swelling because it helps pores to contract and become smaller. Witch hazel is gentle enough to be used as a natural flea bite treatment for both humans and pets.
Doctors at WebMD say that witch hazel is often applied directly to the skin to reduce swelling, inflammation, and itchiness caused by insect bites. The anti-itch and anti-swelling effect occur because of the tannins in witch hazel. Witch hazel is also antibacterial and can help to treat and prevent secondary skin infections developing in the flea bites.8
Soothe your itchy skin by soaking a cotton ball in pure witch hazel and dabbing it on the flea bites around your ankles, wrists, or other areas of your body.
You can also use witch hazel to soothe the irritation from flea bites on your dog or cat. This will help them stop scratching and also clear any infection that may be on the skin.
Cool tea bag
Tea also contains tannins and the astringent properties of tea can help to soothe away the irritation caused by flea bites.9 All you have to do is place a cool tea bag directly on the areas of your body that have been bitten by fleas.
The soothing effect of the tannins in tea and the cold compress from the tea bag will help to quickly relieve any itchiness that you have because of flea bites. There are many other uses for used tea bags which you can read in my previous article.
One of the simplest ways to get rid of an irritating itch on your skin is to apply an ice compress. Ice helps to numb the nerve endings that become irritated after a flea bite.
Dr. Charles P. Davis on eMedicinehealth.com recommends using intermittent cold packs or ice to reduce swelling and redness around the flea bite.10
To help stop itching and reduce swelling caused by flea bites, put a few pieces of ice in a thin towel. Apply the cold compress to the itchy area for 2-3 minutes at a time. Do this for 10-15 minutes a few times a day to treat the itchy flea bites.
Remember never to place ice directly onto skin, but always cover it with a cloth.
Essential Oils to Get Rid of Flea Bites on Humans
Many essential oils also contain anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help to quickly and naturally treat flea bites. These essential oils can help you get quick relief from itchy skin and also reduce the risk of flea bites becoming infected.
Because essential oils are very powerful, they should be diluted in a carrier oil. You only need 2-3 drops of essential oil for every tablespoon of carrier oil. One of the best carrier oils is pure virgin coconut oil because of its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to relieve pain.11
One word of warning: essential oils shouldn’t be used to treat flea bites in pets.
Tea tree oil
You can use tea tree oil to quickly relieve the itch due to flea bites. Studies have shown that tea tree oil can not only reduce the itchiness of the skin, but it can help kill off many strains of bacteria that cause skin infections.12
Tea tree oil is one of the few essential oils that you can apply directly to very small areas of your skin (such as spot treatment). You can put a few drops of tea tree oil on the end of a cotton swab and use it as a natural flea bite remedy. You should dab the end of the cotton bud on the itchy spot to get fast relief from intensely itchy flea bites. For larger skin area or if you have sensitive skin, dilute with a carrier oil.
Applying tea tree oil is also good for treating spider bites and bed bug bites.
Lavender essential oil
Another essential oil that can help to treat itchy flea bites on humans is lavender oil. The anti-inflammatory activity of lavender oil and its pleasant scent make it an excellent flea bite treatment.
A study published in 2015 reported that as well as reducing inflammation, lavender is also an effective topical pain relief treatment.13 Lavender oil has shown to be effective against Staphylococcus aureus strain of bacteria (this strain often causes skin infections).14
Just like tea tree oil, lavender oil can be used as a spot treatment for flea bites by applying a drop or two directly onto the itchy spot for instant relief from the discomfort. You can also add 2-3 drops of lavender oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to areas where you have many flea bites to relieve the itchiness and speed up the healing process.
Calendula essential oil (or, pot marigold) is often used to treat many itchy skin conditions and it is an effective natural remedy for healing flea bites. The University of Maryland reports that calendula is an effective treatment for itching, stinging, or burning sensation on the skin and can help to reduce swelling and redness.15
The easiest way to use calendula to help speed up the healing process of flea bites is to buy a natural cream containing calendula oil. Apply the healing ointment directly to the affected area to get relief from the severe itching that flea bites cause.
Chamomile oil is a natural soothing essential oil that can give you relief from irritation caused by flea bites.
Research into the anti-itch effect of chamomile found it has properties similar to antihistamine and can help to reduce redness, swelling, and itching on the skin.16
Make a healing cream for curing flea bites by adding 2-3 drops of chamomile oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply the chamomile oil remedy to your flea bites 2-3 times a day to soothe the itchiness. Continue applying the ointment until the small red itchy flea bites have disappeared completely.
Or you could apply a cool chamomile compress to the affected area. Make chamomile tea by placing a teabag in a boiling cup of water. Cover and leave until the tea cools. Put the tea bag directly on the itchy spots to relieve the discomfort.
Read my other related articles:
1. How to Naturally Get Rid of Fleas From Your Home, Garden and Pets
2. How to Use Diatomaceous Earth (DE) to Kill Fleas
Get Rid of Flea Bites Quickly With These Natural Treatments? ›
Several natural remedies for flea bites can help reduce redness, itching, and swelling. One natural remedy is aloe vera plant gel, which soothes the skin. Aloe vera contains salicylic acid, which helps relieve swelling and itching. Another one is rubbing alcohol.What helps flea bites heal faster? ›
Wash the bites with antiseptic soap to reduce the risk of infection. Apply an icepack frequently to help relieve swelling. Use calamine lotion, anaesthetic creams or similar to treat the itching. See your pharmacist for advice on appropriate antihistamine medications to reduce the swelling.What dries up flea bites? ›
Rubbing alcohol can be used to dry the bites. White vinegar (dilute 1 part vinegar with 1 part water) can provide temporary relief. Tea tree oil to can relieve itching.What can I put on my skin to stop fleas biting me? ›
Natural flea repellents
One small, human study found that thyme oil and myrtle oil were more repellent against fleas on people than either permethrin or DEET. To use essential oils as a flea repellent, add 5 drops oil to 1 cup of carrier oil, and rub or spray onto skin.
Vinegar: As with rubbing alcohol, vinegar can be applied to a cotton ball and then dabbed onto flea bites to cut down on itching and irritation.How long do flea bites take to go away? ›
Flea bites generally last only a couple of days. Some people may not even realize they've been bitten, while others will feel very itchy, depending on their skin sensitivity and the severity of the flea infestation. “Try not to scratch the bites and break the skin,” Price advises.Does apple cider vinegar help flea bites? ›
Apple cider vinegar is a popular remedy against fleas in the home, but can also be effectively used to soothe their bites. The application of apple cider vinegar can reduce swelling, inflammation, and itching. It also helps prevent infections, due to its antiseptic properties.Is hydrogen peroxide good for flea bites? ›
Years ago, someone told me to rub hydrogen peroxide as soon as possible on the bites. Doing this alleviates the pain from the stings and itching within minutes! Best of all, the only trace from the bite is a faded pink spot the following day. The key is to apply the peroxide with a cotton ball right after the bite.How do you starve out fleas? ›
Want to kill adult fleas fast? Lower the indoor temperature to freezing, and take all the humidity out of the room. Fleas don't like freezing temperatures or dry conditions. Newly emerged fleas can only survive 3 to 12 days without a blood meal before they starve.What scent do fleas hate? ›
Natural flea repellents such as citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, and geraniol may naturally repel fleas. If your pet doesn't mind a spray bottle, dilute a few drops of your chosen repellent into 10-13 fl oz of water and spray directly onto your pet's coat.
Will rubbing alcohol keep fleas from biting you? ›
Alcohol. Rubbing alcohol will kill fleas and ticks, but if you're going to use alcohol, make sure to use it correctly. Experts recommend dropping fleas or ticks into a glass or jar filled with rubbing alcohol.Does Vicks Vapor Rub repel fleas? ›
It is also an insect repellant and kills fleas," says Jose. "This is the major substance in Vicks, aside from Vicks use in upper respiratory infections, that can be used to repel mosquitoes and even fleas."Why are fleas only biting me? ›
In addition to the chemical makeup, other people believe that fleas are simply attracted to some scents more than others. This is why they might prefer a certain individual due to their natural body scent, sweat, and/or the products they apply to their skin, such as soaps, shower gels, deodorants, etc.Can I spray vinegar on my bed for fleas? ›
Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar as a Homemade Flea Spray? Using a DIY flea spray of apple cider vinegar on a rug or dog bed will not kill fleas of any life stage. That's because the acid in vinegar is not strong enough to penetrate the shell of flea eggs or larvae.What is a natural flea killer? ›
Citronella, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus, and neem are all great essential oils for getting rid of fleas. Add 10 to 20 drops to a spray bottle filled with water and spray on your pet's coat, taking care to avoid their eyes.How do you stop flea bites from itching in seconds? ›
Rinsing the bite with an antiseptic soap. Continuing apply an ice pack directly on the bite to prevent itching, reduce redness, and soothe your skin. Using an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or oral medication to expedite healing and ease your itching.Does Toothpaste Help flea bites? ›
I have used toothpaste on mosquito and flea bites since I was about 5 years old. The mint/eucalyptus flavouring in most toothpaste creates a soothing and cooling effect on the skin and provides quick relief from itching and swelling.Why are my flea bites lasting so long? ›
If you're not on the sensitive side, the bite will be gone in one or two days. However, if you develop some kind of reaction to the flea bite, you'll have to deal with a nasty rash for up to two weeks. In rare cases, some people get infections and the healing process can become even longer.Do fleas stay on you after they bite? ›
The short answer is that fleas may bite people, but they won't live on you. Fleas will seek out your dog or cat as their preferred host.What's the best homemade flea killer? ›
Create a flea spray by mixing 4 liters of vinegar, 2 liters of water, 500 ml of lemon juice and 250 ml of witch hazel in a large spray bottle. Before applying the product around your home, you should vacuum properly, emptying the contents into an outside bin, and wash any bedding/cushions that could be infested.
What are fleas attracted to? ›
Fleas are attracted to light, movement, heat, and CO2 because these elements help them find suitable hosts to feed on. Being able to use these as tools against them is a good way to help get your flea infestation under control.Why do fleas bite ankles? ›
Fleas bite ankles because this body area is located at the average height of their jumps. Fleas don't fly. Additionally, there's often a gap of exposed skin between sock rims and pant cuffs. Upon reaching exposed skin, fleas bite right away without wandering.What do fleas hate the most? ›
Citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary will all naturally repel fleas. If your dog doesn't mind a spray bottle, dilute a few drops of your chosen essential oil into a 300ml-400ml of water and spray directly onto your dog's coat.How do you get rid of fleas in 30 minutes? ›
Capstar (nitenpyram) is a fast-acting flea treatment tablet for use in dogs and cats that starts killing fleas in only 30 minutes. A single dose of Capstar kills 90% of adult fleas within 4 hours for dogs and 6 hours for cats, ridding your pet of these pesky parasites.What does sugar do to fleas? ›
Fleas love sugar and kibble is packed with carbohydrates (sugars), this causes severe spikes in your dogs glucose levels which in turn attracts fleas. Fleas are attracted to animals with stronger odours and less healthy skin.What soap do fleas hate? ›
Yes, as with many other soaps and shampoos, Dawn dish soap will kill fleas on your pet. It works by reducing the surface tension of water, causing fleas to sink and drown. Dish soap also affects fleas by damaging their waxy exoskeletons.Is there a smell that kills fleas? ›
Cedarwood or atlas cedarwood are incredibly effective at both repelling and killing fleas. By using a diluted form of cedar essential oil, you can revel in the knowledge that the fleas will soon be very, very dead.What oil kills fleas? ›
Peppermint oil is one such essential oil that is sometimes recommended for use in pets, specifically for killing fleas.How do I combat fleas in bed easily? ›
Spray Vinegar and Water Solution Onto Sheets
You can easily make a flea-killing solution at home. Combine equal parts water and vinegar and spray over the fleas. Then, sprinkle salt all over the affected area. This helps keep the area dry, which aids in killing the fleas and larvae.
- Use baking soda. ...
- Sprinkle salt. ...
- Lemon spray. ...
- Wash all bedding in hot, soapy water. ...
- Use rosemary. ...
- Hire a steam cleaner. ...
- Use a powerful vacuum. ...
- Use a pet-safe flea spray.
Why put Vicks on your feet? ›
There's no evidence that putting Vicks VapoRub on your feet will relieve a cold, congestion, or cough. But it might help moisturize your heels and relieve toenail fungus.Can you smother fleas with Vaseline? ›
One of the odder uses for vaseline or petroleum jelly for dogs is to treat a flea or tick infestation. This idea probably comes from using mayonnaise, vaseline, and other greasy substances to treat lice infestations. But wherever the idea stems from, the short answer is; No!Can you get sick from flea bites? ›
Symptoms of flea-borne typhus begin within 2 weeks after contact with infected fleas or flea dirt. However, people may not know they have been bitten by a flea or exposed to flea dirt so tell your healthcare provider about time spent outdoors or contact with animals. Signs and symptoms may include: Fever and chills.What is the fastest way to get rid of fleas on humans? ›
- 1 Wash your bedding in hot water.
- 2 Vacuum your carpet.
- 3 Vacuum your furniture and baseboards.
- 4 Steam clean your carpet.
- 5 Treat the fleas on your pet.
- 6 Use a flea comb on your pets.
- 7 Wash your pets' bedding.
- 8 Use bug spray on your skin.
Fleas like to live on a blood host. They won't take up residence in your bed, but they will leave evidence that they've been there. If your pet has fleas, the eggs may roll off their fur and onto your bed, where they'll hatch. Adult fleas can jump long distances and may make their way onto bedding.What is the best healing cream for flea bites? ›
Hydrocortisone can be applied directly to the bite. Hydrocortisone cream and hydrocortisone shampoo are popular treatments for flea bites. These are effective and fast-acting in treating flea bites.Why am I the only one getting bit by fleas? ›
In addition to the chemical makeup, other people believe that fleas are simply attracted to some scents more than others. This is why they might prefer a certain individual due to their natural body scent, sweat, and/or the products they apply to their skin, such as soaps, shower gels, deodorants, etc.Does Benadryl help with flea bites? ›
The itching and discomfort caused by flea bites can be relieved by using over-the-counter creams and ointments, such as hydrocortisone and calamine lotion. Taking antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can also help alleviate symptoms.Why do flea bites take long to heal? ›
This is because fleas inject a protein in your blood to prevent it from coagulating. This leads to release of histamine which causes swelling, redness, itchiness and welts on the skin. Other people have a delayed reaction to this process. They may experience the symptoms a few days after they have been bitten.Do flea bites spread? ›
Flea bites produce a variety of effects, ranging from a small, temporary red bump to long-term symptoms that may last for years depending on the sensitivity of the person bitten. The area of skin affected may increase over time, or the rash may spread to a different area.
What happens if you get bit by too many fleas? ›
More severe symptoms can include: An allergic reaction (hives, rash, shortness of breath and swelling). Infection of a disease carried by a flea (fever, headache, body aches, rashes, nausea, abdominal pain, weight loss, dizziness and weakness can accompany various diseases).Can too many flea bites make you sick? ›
In general, fleas do not carry diseases. Small children and people who are allergic may have a bad reaction. This can include swelling and itching. The skin may become irritated and painful around the bite, and sometimes hives and a rash will appear.How do I get rid of fleas in my bed naturally? ›
Wash all bedding in hot, soapy water
For mild infestations, wash your bed sheets in hot soapy water. The soap will kill fleas, while also destroying their eggs and larvae. Consider vacuuming your mattress as well. Don't forget to do the same to your pet's bed.
Natural Remedy: Diatomaceous Earth
You can sprinkle it on carpets, bedding, and furniture. Let it sit for several hours, then vacuum it up. It kills fleas by drying them out. You can also use it on your lawn.
Fleas can bite people, most often on the feet, ankles, and legs. They may bite three times in a row.