Hunting for seashells or dipping your toes in beach water never felt so painful than when coming in contact with a swarm of sand fleas – who enjoy taking swipes at ankles, legs, and feet. During warm weather days, keep an eye out for the pesky pests and if you’re unfortunate enough to have your beach day ruined by bites, consider the following home remedies for sand fleas.
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What are Sand Fleas?
While the sand flea looks like an insect, it’s actually a crustacean that chooses to lay its eggs in rotting seaweed . Found in parts of the Mediterranean, southern Asia, India, South America, and Africa, the sand flea also resides in Florida and other parts of the United States. Munching on organic and decaying plants, it’s easy to come in contact with a sand flea since beach seaweed is a favorite meal for the pests. Whenever seaweed washes ashore, large numbers of sand fleas can gather to feast.
The sand flea measures less than 1/8 of an inch (3 mm) long, making it pretty tricky to pinpoint in sandy beaches. Ranging in color from pale to brownish in color, the flea looks quite similar to a shrimp-like creature. Equipped with long legs, the flea swims or jumps to its next destination. Sand fleas bite, causing an uncomfortable setting for beachgoers during the evening, nighttime, and dawn hours of the day. Other places that sand fleas frequent include swamplands, creeks, lakebeds, and wetlands.
Sand Flea Fever
While a sand flea bite is not particularly painful, it is the allergic reaction accompanied by intense itching that makes many people feel uncomfortable. The bites can also cause welts and lesions in some victims that last for hours. Some red welts measure one to two inches wide . The itching drives individuals to scratch, which can sometimes lead to infection.
To make matters worse, there’s people who develop sand flea fever – often battling sores that resemble volcanoes with raised edges and centralized craters. Over time, the size and appearance of the sores will change. Other symptoms of sand flea fever include headache, feverishness, flushed face, chills, muscle and joint aches, shivering, and bloodshot eyes.
Sand Flea Home Remedies
The main threat of sand fleas is the itching they cause with their bites. To encourage a speedy recovery and tame an itch attack, consider the following home remedies for sand flea bites:
a) Hydrocortisone Cream 1%:
Somewhere in the back of your medicine cabinet, you may have a tube of hydrocortisone cream. It’s the kind of cream that knocks out itchiness, but can also take care of the redness and inflammation of bites.
Cut a clove of garlic in half and directly rub onto a sand flea bite. Safe to use on both adults and children, you can easily put an end to itchy skin.
c) Calamine Lotion:
This popular standby for mosquito bites also takes care of sand flea bites.
d) Baking Soda and Water:
If you don’t have any calamine lotion on hand, mix baking soda and water to create a smooth paste to spread across your bites.
Mix a small amount of water and one teaspoon of salt to treat sand flea bites. Dab on a bit of the remedy. Do not use a towel to wipe or dry off. While the water dries, the salt residue remains to fight itching. Another remedy – take a dip in saltwater to calm the itchiness of sand flea bites.
f) Aloe Vera:
A window shelf aloe plant comes in handy when sand fleas have bitten you. Break a small piece off of the plant and rub on a bite or infected skin.
g) Citrus Juices:
Bitter-tasting juices possess components that can ease sand flea bites, including lemon juice and lime juice.
h) Hydrogen Peroxide:
When a scab forms on a sand flea bite, create a 50/50 mix of hydrogen peroxide and betadine solution. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and dab around the wound.
i) Rubbing Alcohol:
When no scab has formed, clean a bite site with rubbing alcohol and follow up with an application of antibacterial ointment.
j) Powdered Milk:
When the itch of sand flea bites are driving you crazy, create a paste out of one part powdered milk and two parts water with a pinch of salt. Dab onto bites for relief. The enzymes contained in the milk powder help to neutralize allergens associated with the sand flea.
k) Chest Rub:
Provide immediate relief for itchy bug bites with a layer of chest rub (like Vicks Vaporub) – thanks to the menthol and eucalyptus contained in the product .