Sand fleas are a threat that you should take seriously. Only at millimeter in size prior to attachment to a host, the sand flea is a parasite that feeds on humans and animals. While many sand flea bites are merely inconveniences, they can become serious problems.
The first sign of a sand flea bite is a small red mark where the flea has bitten you. These bites can have a reaction very similar to the common mosquito. Like the mosquito, they can transmit diseases. If you have been bitten by sand fleas, you may want to see a physician, especially if symptoms of fever, swelling, hives and welts remain for more than a week. This may be a sign of a more serious problem.
There are some situations where a sand flea may become parasitic. This is when they attach to a host by digging into the deeper layers of the skin and feeding on blood. Both genders of sand fleas are blood feeders, but it is the female that is the biggest threat. Unlike males, females do not immediately die after mating and nest in the skin of its host. While they only start at one millimeter in size, sand fleas can grow up to one centimeter. This causes a lump to form under the skin. This is usually when people notice that there is a problem.
Unlike other types of fleas, sand fleas cannot be removed without aid of a physician. Trying to dig out a sand flea can cause severe infection. If you have developed a lump under your skin, you should see your doctor immediately, as sand fleas will continue to grow and feed until you run risk of blood clots where you have been bitten. This sort of infection also increases the chance that you will have a disease transmitted to you from the sand fleas.
There are several ways that you can prevent sand fleas from biting you. First, wear socks and shoes when you to go the beach, as well as long pants. If the fleas cannot penetrate your clothing, they cannot bite you. There are many insect repellents that will target sand fleas as well. These fleas commonly avoid the hottest parts of the day, so you run a far less risk of exposure if you go to the beach during the day.
Many flea medications for animals will help prevent your pet from suffering from sand flea bites.