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HELP! Fleas IN MY CHILD'S *HAIR*! (Definitely not lice!)

(39 Posts)
rosemarycottage Fri 12-Aug-11 13:21:48


I've never had a huge problem with fleas before. I have two cats, and they spend the majority of summer outdoors and the majority of winter indoors. I treat them with Frontline Combo just about every month. I've had one of them for ten years, one for two years and I have never had a problem with fleas before now.

But now? Loads of the little buggers. I've flea bombed the whole house, hoovered everywhere including mattresses and chairs, I've frontlined the cats again for what little good it does but I'm really distressed:

Because I've found them in ds' hair. They definitely aren't lice (he's had lice before and I do know the difference). I've also seen them jumping around on my clothes - clothes I've only just washed - even when I've been out of the house.

I'm mortified. And frankly, really upset to see fleas jumping around on my ds and feel like there's nothing I can do.

I can get the council to fumigate and that's my next step but I'm frightened that these aren't actually cat fleas but the rare human flea. Apparently these are indeed rare but often live around pigs. Well guess where we visited about a week ago? A farm. That included a pig sty. Didn't stay long but... could it be that?

And if it is human fleas what the hell do I do? Go to the doctor?

This is making me really upset. He starts school in September; if he still has fleas in his hair then he might get bullied and that's not even to mention how horrid it will be if he gets bitten. sad

Anyone had this problem before and what would you advise / what did you do?

Do lice shampoos work on fleas? (Trust me, they are definitely fleas not lice, I know the difference). Should I go to a doctor or a vet?


rosemarycottage Fri 12-Aug-11 13:29:25

Would very much appreciate any advice or even just sympathy from anyone who's ever had this problem.

rosemarycottage Fri 12-Aug-11 13:47:46

Last bump before my tea break is over brew

HumphreyCobbler Fri 12-Aug-11 13:50:08

catch one and take it to the council for identification?

Sounds awful but I am sure you can sort this.

HumphreyCobbler Fri 12-Aug-11 13:50:38

are you getting bitten?

colditz Fri 12-Aug-11 13:51:59

oh dear

colditz Fri 12-Aug-11 13:52:51

"Nowadays when one acquires a human flea, it is usually as a result of a visit to a pigsty. The human flea also thrives on pigs and can also be found on fox and badger."

rubyrubyruby Fri 12-Aug-11 13:54:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rosemarycottage Fri 12-Aug-11 13:55:00

Thanks HumphreyCobbler - I have been bitten, though mostly around the ankles, which would suggest cat fleas but I'm not sure due to the fleas in hair business. confused

I know the pest controller at the council (I work at the council though not in pest control) and to be honest they don't really specialise in identification of insects, they just come, and spray, and go away.

I've seen a few fleas on the cats before now but never to this extent. I'm also really skint at the moment, like, really skint, and although the council will spray for free all the other stuff is mounting up and that's just stressing me out too.

Plus if his Dad finds fleas in his hair while ds is at his house, it will be another thing that he'll use to (metaphorically!) beat me over the head with.

Google searches are little help; have done tea tree oil / lemon extract bath and hair wash and all that, to no avail.

Wonder if going the docs might be the next logical step?

rosemarycottage Fri 12-Aug-11 13:56:06

Yeah, colditz, I read the same article which is why I'm so paranoid. Rubyrubyruby I can't afford Rentokil, but they don't do much more than the council's pest control I don't think (which is free).

2kidsintow Fri 12-Aug-11 23:51:55

We go months and months with no problems, then will find that the cat is infested (regardless of frontline and cat flea collars, it still occasionally happens) and will spray and hoover etc.

A couple of other things that work are...
The flea tablets that you can get. They will kill all the fleas on your cat within a couple of hours.

Use a nit comb on your cat. You will have to be armed with a pot of water to dump the fleas into as you comb them off your cat (my preferred approach) or strong nails to crack the flea against the teeth of the comb (OH's preference) and quite quickly as they will hop away otherwise.

Strangest one....a shallow tray or tub of water next to an area where you think you may be being bitten most e.g. next to the bed where they come out in reaction to the carbon dioxide you are breathing out when sleeping. They can't escape the water and drown and you get the fun of counting how many you have found.

GloriaVanderbilt Sat 13-Aug-11 07:29:52

please don't panic. It's so unlikely to be human fleas. You have cats fgs smile

Recently we had a big problem with our cat, the stuff we used wasn't working (frontline) and although I was also using program on her, she was having real trouble. I did start finding fleas about the house as well, but she looked all spiky where she kept licking and scratching.

Eventually I gave up on the frontline and took her to the vet, where they sold us some advocate (it costs more but you can pay for a prescription and buy it much cheaper online). Within a couple of days she stopped scratching, began purring in her undisturbed sleep again and I no longer find flea eggs where she has been lying.
It's such a massive relief.

The best thing is it says on the packet that there will be residual fleas hatching in the environment, but within about 6 weeks they ought to all have jumped onto the cat and been killed. Cat fleas cannot live on human blood. They'll try, but only when desperate, and they won't survive.

We were told to treat the house but tbh I couldn't do it - we're very cluttered, I hate the idea of poison everywhere, (though you can get non toxic silicon sprays I think) and it was going to be major work to spray everywhere. So we didn't.

I know from before that once an effective flea treatment is in place on your cat, they do stop being a problem. You just have to sustain the cat's treatment.

please try some advocate (btw I also tried fipronil spot on as it was dead cheap, but it was useless - same stuff as frontline, they're resistant now).

by all means spray the house if you like but that's just a quick fix. You need to keep treating the cats and the fleas won't be able to take over.

GloriaVanderbilt Sat 13-Aug-11 07:31:11

Oh yes and combing is good too. A good metal flea comb, they usually love it, and kill them as you find them.

I did this in combination with the drugs. It gave her a head start.

rosemarycottage Sat 13-Aug-11 07:39:03

Thanks - can't actually see any fleas on the cat but can in ds' hair. Can use the nit comb though, can't hurt.

Will ring vet re: frontline/advantage.

GloriaVanderbilt Sat 13-Aug-11 07:42:21

there is one called advantage as well, I used to use it but tbh advocate seems to be far better, so ask what they usually recommend.

WonkyDonkeys Sat 13-Aug-11 07:42:31

I'd say it's more likely to be cat fleas.

We had a sudden infestation not so long ago... during it I found 2 in Ds's hair one morning sad it's awful, and I know how you feel.

You need Indorex (I think that's what it's called). It is the only stuff that will work - trust me I tried everything!! Get it from you're vet, or the PDSA, if you qualify, then it's only £10.

Wash all bedding/soft furnishings...hoover thoroughly.... and spray everywhere, in particular the skirting. It will work.

GloriaVanderbilt Sat 13-Aug-11 07:44:20

I wonder what Indorex has in it. There's stronghold as well but our vets said they only usuallt get that in for severe infestations.

Advocate has worked so quickly, I'm amazed...all I find now is the odd dead flea, it's rather sad grin

WonkyDonkeys Sat 13-Aug-11 07:50:02

gosh I don't care what it's got in it. I speak as someone who doesn't even have bleach in the cupboard...but when the DC have fleas in their hair and you are getting bitten to shreds, priorities shift! I did it first thing, opened all the windows and cleared everyone out for the day. Came back to a fresh house and dead fleas.

Florin Sat 13-Aug-11 08:10:35

Frontline doesn't work on ours either and we ended up with a similar situation. We now use advocate and it's brilliant cleared up the problem straight away. It is expensive though.

rosemarycottage Sat 13-Aug-11 08:12:25

Sorry, I meant Advocate. I was just googling flea treatments and advantage was in my head! blush

As for chemicals around the house - I used flea bombs so would prefer to leave any more spraying for a while until I'm sure the cats are adequately treated, else it'll be in vain.

rosemarycottage Sat 13-Aug-11 08:13:30

I have only food money until next weekend, how much was the Advocate, could potentially loan a few bob off a mate if it's not too dear.

rosemarycottage Sat 13-Aug-11 08:15:52

Technically I do qualify for PDSA but the nearest one to me is miles away and no buses go there. By the time I'd paid for a taxi it would only be worth it for very expensive treatment. My pet excess on older cat is £90 anyway!

rosemarycottage Sat 13-Aug-11 08:17:20

WonkeyDonkeys it's a relief (well, in a way) to know you found fleas in human hair too. If this is "just" cat fleas I feel confident it can be treated.

WonkyDonkeys Sat 13-Aug-11 08:21:25

They were also trying to bury themselves in the Dc's soft toys [ewww] had to wash absolutely everything!

Honestly...we tried everything. Indorex really is worth it if you get some. Could you send someone else? Once you've sprayed and left the room ventilated you won't know you've sprayed anything, there's no scent left.

LawrieMarlow Sat 13-Aug-11 08:33:42

We had fleas when I was very pregnant and H thought I had a mysterious pregnancy itching thing. Then when DD was very small he got bitten and realised that it was fleas. Can't remember what we used but it smelt awful although it did the job. Hope you can find something to sort it out.

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