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Animal bites are a relatively common injury. In fact, in the United States 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. While dog bites may cause more bite injuries than other animals, cat bites are more likely to become infected. Other animal bites, especially ones that may be wild or stray animals, can cause a variety of issues ranging from mild skin irritation to more serious diseases, such as rabies. If the wound from the bite is minor, it can be treated with simple first aid in majority of cases. Here’s how to properly examine an animal bite and the treatment options that are available.
Stop the Bleeding
Once you have safely relocated away from the animal, stop any bleeding from the bite by applying pressure directly to the affected area. If the bleeding has not stopped after 15 minutes of firm pressure, seek immediate medical attention.
Clean the Wound
Once the bleeding has stopped, clean the wound by gently washing the area out with soap and water for three to five minutes. Treat the bite with an antibiotic ointment and cover it with a sterile bandage. Make sure to watch out for signs of infection, this includes, fever, redness, and swelling around the affected area.
Severe bites may require professional medical care, and In some cases, stitches may be needed after the bite. Treatment will also depend on the location of the injury, if a foreign object is in the wound, and whether the animal has been vaccinated. Make sure to check out the infographic below for more information on how to properly deal with an animal bite.
Infographic created by Tracy Tiernan- Attorney at Law, a dog bite injury lawyer.