My husband and I have been getting bitten around the ankles, lower legs and occasionally elsewhere over the past few days. Today I actually saw a flea on my arm. My husband also saw one on his arm. I saw one on my 2 year old daughter’s face too (she doesn’t seem to have any bites). We don’t have a pet, but we did look after a kitten who had fleas, however this was almost 8 weeks ago. We had some bites at the time, but none since then until now. Could the fleas still be in our home from then? We have just switched the central heating on for the first time this winter in the last week or so. Could the warmer environment have caused dormant fleas to hatch?
The only other possibility is that we picked them up when we were on holiday last week. I think this is unlikely as pets are not allowed in the hotel we stayed in.
Could we have picked up human fleas?
I have started the task of washing all of our bedding, towels etc on a high heat and vacuuming everywhere.
Can you advise? Thank you.
It is possible the fleas you are seeing are the remnants of the infestation from the kitten. On averages, fleas go away 8 weeks after the infested animal is treated or removed, but it can last longer. Cocooned adults can stay quiescent (dormant-like) for up to 5 months. They wake up and emerge when they detect heat and pressure on the cocoon. The warmer environment may be helping them emerge, but from what I understand is more about direct heat and pressure.
Like you say, it’s unlikely you picked the fleas up at a pet-free hotel.
You can check to see if they are human fleas (P. irritans) by closely observing their heads. I’ve described this in the answer to another question.
It sounds like you are taking the proper steps to control the infestation. Without pets, vacuuming is the primary thing that will speed up the eradication process.