Flea Bite Rash

  • Written By Dan Edwards on December 14, 2018
    Last Updated: December 17, 2020

Despite being the tiniest of insects, fleas can cause some major problems. Not only to your pets but to your home and to you and your health. If you have had a rash from flea bites before, then you will know what I am talking about.

If you have a rash that you suspect may be caused by fleas, then you need to find out more information to determine if this is the case or not. A flea bite rash is not only a bothersome health issue, but it might also indicate you have an infestation in your home that you need to deal with or those flea bites will keep appearing.

What Does a Flea Bite Rash Look Like?

Flea bites bear distinct characteristics and unlike mosquito bites they will usually remain quite small. They appear as small red bumps sometimes with a dark scab in the middle and they have a halo which surrounds them.

The most common places to find flea bites is on the lower legs and ankles and the bites will come from newly emerging adult fleas who are looking for their new host.

Flea Bites On Ankle
Flea Bites Around The Ankle

They tend to be lurking in the depths of carpets or crevices of furniture and wooden floors and they will jump to the first warm-bodied mammal available to find their first blood meal.

flea eggs in carpet
Flea eggs between carpet fibers

Other places on the body you may find them are armpits, waist, groin and in folds like knees or elbows. You may find bites in these areas due to spending time on the floor or cuddling your pets. If your flea infestation is a bad one, then maybe the tiny parasites have invaded your bed and are enjoying a meal on you as you sleep.

Some people may be allergic or sensitive to the flea bites and will develop hives or skin rashes and some bites may change to appear more like a blister. For those that are sensitive or allergic, it will usually become apparent within 24 hours of the bites appearing, but it may take up to 72 hours.

Side Effects and Symptoms of a Flea Bite Rash

Flea bites don’t always cause a reaction and may well go unnoticed for many people. In some cases, they can cause a mild itching and not be too bothersome but for some people, they can cause severe and excessive itching.

Flea bites itch due to the saliva introduced into the wound by the flea. It uses its saliva as an anticoagulant when feeding. This is what causes the itching sensation to the skin and the level of itching a person will suffer will depend on their sensitivity so different people will vary in their degree of itching.

The bite will often have a dark scab in the center and excessive itching of this area will cause skin irritation and damage to the skin which could result in infections brought on by bacteria entering these open areas. Treatment will most likely be necessary in these circumstances.

Other people may be sensitive or allergic to the flea bites and this can result in them suffering a rash surrounding the area or the bites developing into hives. Both of which will cause extreme itching and will require treatment. Children may also have higher sensitivity to flea bites.

How Long Does a Flea Bite Rash Last?

The length of time a flea bite rash lasts will depend on things such as how sensitive you are to the flea bites and what treatment you are using. You also need to consider whether something is being done to tackle the flea problem in the home or the place you are coming into contact with them if it is elsewhere to prevent further bites.

There are many treatments you can use without the need to see a doctor such as ice packs which will help prevent swelling, reduce itching and help to soothe the skin. You can also use antiseptic or antibacterial soaps or creams to cleanse the area and help prevent secondary infections.

There are other natural remedies which you can use to help alleviate the symptoms of the itching and soothe the skin such as aloe vera gel or calendula extracts which are known for their soothing properties and have been used for centuries as natural remedies.

You could also speak to your pharmacist who may suggest an over the counter hydrocortisone cream which you can apply to the affected area to help clear it up more quickly. He may also suggest an antihistamine to help relieve the scratching.

With the treatments mentioned above, you can generally sort out a flea bite rash within a few days.

Scratching or rubbing the flea bites will increase the healing time and scratching the bites will break them open allowing them to release fluid which will crust on the surface and allow bacteria to breed and enter the wounds.

A secondary infection of a flea bite rash could mean it can take up to four to six weeks to clear up depending on the treatment. If a secondary infection does occur, it will be necessary to see a doctor who will most likely prescribe antibiotic treatment in order to treat the infection.


Fleas not only trouble our beloved pets they also cause problems for our homes and our health. They may only be tiny parasites, but fleas can cause some huge issues and a rash from flea bites is one of them. If you suspect that what you have is a flea bite rash, then hopefully this information has helped you clarify if that is the case or not.

You now know what to look for when deciding if your rash has been caused by fleas and what to do to help clear it up as quickly as possible. Remember if you want to make sure you don’t keep getting a rash from flea bites you also need to treat your pets and your home too.