Sand Flea Bites – Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

More often than not, enjoying the beach also means dealing with sand fleas and the unpleasant skin conditions they cause. But what are they exactly? Should you be concerned if you get bitten by them? Here is a quick guide to help you get through such uncomfortable situations. What Are Sand Fleas and Where Do They Come From? Sand fleas go by different names: pigue, chigoe flea, pico, jigger, Pulex penetrans, Sarcopsylla penetrans, etc. These are wingless, shrimp-looking creatures with specialized mouthparts which help them suck blood. Because of their features and appearance, sand fleas are commonly mistaken as crustaceans. The body of sand fleas usually has 7 segments and its length is only about 1 mm, making them difficult to see with the naked eye. They have long legs that help them in jumping and swimming. They aren’t good jumpers, though: they can only cover 20-40 cm. in a single jump. As such, sand fleas don’t travel long distances; they are found within a narrow radius near bodies of water such as beaches, lake beds, creeks, and pools. Beaches, however, are their main dwelling place so regular beach-goers are the most common victims. Sand Flea Bites A regular sand flea bite is similar to a common mosquito bite: the flea sucks blood and leaves for another host, leaving an itchy, and sometimes painful, swollen mark. The fleas inject the host with saliva to make the former’s blood thinner and thus easier to suck. That saliva is what causes skin irritation. This may also result in allergic reactions. Breeding Sand Flea Bites This type of sand flea bites is worse than the regular one. Breeding female sand fleas burrow under the skin and hide there for about two weeks, waiting for their eggs to hatch. The affected body parts swell and dark spots appear at the center of the swollen area/s. If you’re showing this symptom, seek treatment right away. Sand Flea Bites Symptoms Both types of sand flea bites cause symptoms such as pain, itching, discomfort, and unpleasantness. If you are allergic to flea bites, you may experience more severe reactions accompanied by dizziness, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, nausea, and swelling of lips and tongue. When breeding sand fleas burrow under your skin, you may experience further symptoms like fever and infection, which may develop into an inflammatory skin disease called tungiasis. This condition must be treated immediately to avoid secondary infections. How to Get Rid of Sand Fleas Sand fleas do not compare to the regular fleas we know – they are far worse. When threatened, they resist and bite harder. They could even attach themselves...

Read More