Fleabite: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 10/21/2020

Fleabites are caused by the parasitic insect, the flea. Fleas feed on the blood of mammals and birds. Adult fleas are about 1/12 to 1/8 inch long, wingless, oval, flat from side to side, and dark reddish-brown in color. They have six long legs and can jump very high and far, about 200 times their body length. The most common species of flea responsible for fleabites in the U.S. is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. Fleas may infest a home when a household pet carries the fleas, but they may also infest a home without pets.

Signs and symptoms of fleabites in humans include

  • small clusters of skin bumps,
  • itching,
  • hives,
  • red spots with a "halo," and
  • swelling around the bite.

Allergic reactions, including severe allergic reactions with difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips or tongue, wheezing, or chest pain, may occur in some people.

Cause of fleabites

Fleas cause fleabites.

Other fleabite symptoms and signs

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Red Spots with a "Halo"
  • Small Clusters of Skin Bumps
  • Swelling Around the Bite


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.