Is the reaction to flea bites an allergic response like mosquito bites?

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Offline Helen Stohlman

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Helen Stohlman  asked the Naked Scientists:

Is the reaction to flea bites also an allergic response like the itching of mosquito bites?  I have also experienced flea bites here and sometimes find a flea in my bed, but the bites just look like you made a dot with a red magic marker on my skin - no itching, swelling, or other uncomfortable reactions whatsoever, and the mark disappears in a few hours.

Fleas, however, will drive you crazy jumping on your legs under the blankets, so that leads me to chase them out of the bed.  I know, however, that other people may get awful itchy reactions to flea bites.  I'm a wierd specimen - I have a number of allergies, but for example I am not allergic to poison ivy (maybe it has a different name in the UK, it's a three-leaflet wild plant in the US that causes painful blisters in virtually everyone except me when they touch it!).

Thanks as always for a great show.

Helen Stohlman

What do you think?

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Offline rosalind dna

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Hi, Helen Stohlman
TNS had a similar thread with a question about mosquitoes, a few
weeks ago, it may help. Also if I have ever been unlucky enough
to received any cat flea bites then I got the red lumpy marks and
the fleas seemed attracted to me. (NO more). It itched loads.

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=14377.0
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flea

Rosalind Franklin was my first cousin and one my life's main regrets is that I never met this brilliant and beautiful lady.
She discovered the Single DNA Helix in 1953, then it was taken by Wilkins without her knowledge or agreeement.

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Offline Helen Stohlman

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Thanks!  That show was actually what inspired my question about flea bites.  I can't complain, a red dot for a couple of hours is not a problem.  I know many people suffer a lot from them!  Here (Guatemala) it's very hard to aviod fleas.