There is an estimated 2 million people annually that are bitten in the United States by animals. Most bites are from dogs (80-90%), cats (5-10%) and all others (2-3%).
The vast majority of these bites are minor and are usually harmless and will heal on their own with the proper first aid. However, the most feared complication from a bite is rabies, but the most common complication is a skin infection.
FIRSTAID TREATMENT FOR BITES:
Thoroughly wash the bite wound with soap and water.
Put a clean dressing on the wound.
Get a tetanus shot, if it’s not up-to-date. Check with your doctor.
Get immediate medical help if the wound shows signs of infection. Treating major cuts or puncture wounds.
NORMAL SYMPTONS OF A BITE:
Blue or yellow discoloration.
CONTACT YOUR MEDICAL PROVIDER IF:
The affected area is the face or neck.
After the third day, swelling increases.
Redness or streaking.
You have a fever of greater than 100 degrees F. (38 degrees C.)
Excessive drainage from the wound.
No evidence of healing.
Bitten by an unknown wild animal.
ANIMALS AT HIGHER RISK FOR CARRYING RABIES:
Dogs and Cats.
Wild animals, such as raccoons, squirrels, skunks and bats.
For more information and rabies assessment, contact your county health department.
HOW TO PREVENT ANIMAL BITES:
Vaccinate all your pets against rabies. Keep shots up to date.
Never handle, pet or feed an animal that you don’t know.
Wild animals should not be kept as pets.
Never leave children alone with animals.
Animals that look sick or disoriented should not be touched (call your county health department). Human Bites
Human bite wounds have a high risk of infection. These infections can quickly progress into severe complications. It is important to get treatment as soon as possible.
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND VIDEO GO TO: Paul Laris is an author and advisor on Emergency, Disaster and First Aid information. His website EmergencySuppliesInfo.com, will give you up to date information and videos on what to do before, during and after an Emergency.