Do flea bites scar?

Summary

Flea bites don’t normally scar. However, scratching or picking at the bites can cause secondary infections and ultimately scarring. Flea bites typically heal within a week or two. In rare circumstances they may persist for extended periods. In allergic individuals, blisters can form, which take longer to heal as the skin may die.

Details

Flea Bites don’t Normally Scar

Flea bites usually last around a week. First the skin elevates (wheals) after a bite. The wheal peaks in a couple of hours and disappears within 12 hours. A delayed reaction papule (itchy, hard bump) appears 12-24 hours after the bite. The papule begins vanishing on day two, and is barley discernible by day 3. However, sometimes the delayed reaction can persist for 2 weeks.

After the papule fades, skin around the area will remained discolored for around a week. It appears as a pale, red stain. The discoloration goes away within a week or two. However, scratching or rubbing the bites will prolong the healing time.

Rare Circumstances

Some individual are highly sensitive to flea bites. In these cases, bite reactions can persist for weeks or months. In rare cases, there can be a prolonged effect that lasts a year or two. These lasting reactions are sometimes misdiagnosed as cancerous or benign lesions.

Severe Allergic Reactions

Those with allergies sometimes experience more extreme delayed reactions in the form of bullae (blisters). In these cases, the blisters develop on the second or third days, peaking 72 hours after the bite. The tense fluid-filled lesions appear translucent with surrounding redness. They measure 3-6 mm in diameter. The blistered skin may die (epidermal necrosis), which can take longer to heal.

Secondary Infections may Scar

Flea bites are itchy and often provoke scratching. Scratching a bite can break open skin, release fluid, and cause crusting. This frequently causes secondary bacterial infections. The infected bite fills with pus and takes the form of a pustule or boil (similar to pimples). The infection heals over 4-6 weeks, but skin remains discolored for longer. Like pimples, secondary infections can lead to scarring if they’re picked or scratched.

References

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