Fleas: Not Just "Man's Best Friend's" Problem

Friday, March 13, 2009

By NPMA Staff

 

Television commercials frequently tout the importance of protecting household pets from fleas. However, protecting the health of those family members who care for household pets is of equal importance. Fleas, which commonly appear in warmer months, feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body, thus posing a potential risk to the health and well-being of families within their own homes.

"Although, fleas are often associated with household pets, these pests can certainly affect human beings," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "Frequently, flea bites are itchy, unsightly and may cause allergic reactions in humans. With the recent increase in flea calls to pest control companies, it is important to protect your family from these potential health risks."

NPMA experts offer these tips for help avoid flea infestations:

  • Clean and vacuum your home frequently to remove existing flea populations and prevent the laying of eggs.
  • Be sure to keep your lawn well groomed as this can thwart rodents, who are often flea carriers, from finding hiding spots and food sources so close to your home.
  • Fleas tend to travel with mammals on the move, including rodents. If you have a rodent problem in your home, fleas may be soon to follow. Call a pest professional to rid your home of both.
  • To protect your pets, keep them on a leash when outdoors. Be sure to bathe and groom your pets regularly.
  • Have your pets visit a veterinarian annually and use flea treatments according to directions.

"If you suspect a flea infestation in your home, be proactive in treating the problem and contact a licensed pest professional to rid your home of fleas and to prevent future infestations," advises Henriksen.