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Sand Fleas on Humans

Bites of sand fleas can cause infections known as 'tungiasis'. This WellnessKeen article tells you more about them.
WellnessKeen Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Sand fleas are not commonly seen in the United States of America, but are endemic to the Caribbean. Normally, it is people returning from the Caribbean, who are said to be carriers of sand fleas. These fleas are common to the coastal areas. A large population of sand fleas can also be found in decaying vegetation, like creeks, lake beds, pools, etc. The eggs of sand fleas, are hatched in four to five days and the larvae immediately start feeding on tiny aquatic animals. There are many other names for sand fleas. These names are 'no-see-ums', 'midges', 'beach fleas', and 'sand flies'.

About Sand Fleas
Sand fleas actually feed themselves on tiny aquatic animals, either early in the morning or late dusk. If there are humans lying on the beach, they become prey to sand fleas. Bites of sand fleas are more common on people who have pale skin, because the skin is thinner and is easier for the fleas to pierce into. Sand fleas inject their saliva into the skin of the prey, which causes the blood to thin and it becomes easier for the fleas to suck the blood. The saliva that is secreted by the fleas into the human body, causes the human immune system to react with a large welt, which leads to irritation of the skin for several days along with severe itching. To protect one self from these menacing fleas, it is best to steer clear of the breeding grounds of sand fleas.

How to Get Rid of Sand Fleas
Spring is often the time when the population of sand fleas increases manifold. The sand fleas often invade the wooden furniture available in the house and infest the bed. That is when sand flea bites in humans become increasingly common.

The symptom of a sand flea bite is a little red spot at the exact location of the flea bite. It is necessary to undertake treatment for the bite, because, like mosquitoes, they are also known to spread infections. In some cases, these fleas are also known to turn parasitic. In such a condition, they attach themselves to the host, dig into the deeper layers of their skin and feed on the blood of the host. Of the male and female sand fleas, the females are more dangerous, as unlike the males, they do not die immediately after mating.

People often notice the bites after the size of the flea has grown from one millimeter to one centimeter under the skin. To remove these from under the skin, you will have to get in touch with your healthcare professional, as without professional help, you will not be able to remove them. If you attempt to remove the fleas by yourselves, it may cause severe infection. If you neglect the fleas, there are chances of you developing blood clots on the areas where you have been bitten.

Let's now find out how to get rid of sand fleas infestation in the homes.
  • The first and the foremost step is to wash the bed linen thoroughly, with a lot of soap and water. You will have to do the same with your blankets as well.
  • The next step is to spray pesticides on the mattresses and furniture. Be generous when you do that. This step will have to be repeated, till you are sure that your home is free of the flea menace.
  • In case you have a pet at home, you will have to make sure that your pet is also free of the pests.
  • Carpets are often the favorite breeding grounds for most of these pests. You will have to vacuum the carpet everyday, as the fleas lay their eggs in the carpets. Carpets will also have to be disinfected, to get rid of the pests.
Sand fleas on humans should not be neglected, as they can cause blood clots. At the same time, people can become prey to a myriad range of infections, carried by these fleas. It is best to get in touch with your healthcare professional immediately and to not treat the infection on your own.

Disclaimer: This WellnessKeen article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.