Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can a person get fleas the same way an animal does?"
My roommate has a dog and I think it has fleas. Could I get fleas too? Could they stay on my body the way they stay on a dog's body? I am asking because I have had a bad rash too.
There are many different species of fleas. Of all of these species, only one species is specific to humans, meaning that most species of fleas that a dog might have cannot live sustainably on a human being. This doesn't mean that these other species of fleas can't 'hop a ride' on you for a short distance; however they can only live permanently on the dog. Nevertheless, several species of fleas can potentially bite humans. They tend to bite on the ankles and legs (close to the ground, where they hop on) but they can also bite in other areas. The bites are often exquisitely itchy. If you think you may be getting flea bites, of course the first thing to do is to take the dog to the veterinarian! They will be able to give you advice on how to get the fleas off of the dog and out of the house. If the bites that you have are very uncomfortable or reddened, you should go see your primary care doctor. They may be able to give you a cream or medication to help take away the itching and the swelling. In the meantime, try not to scratch them, as this will only make things worse!
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