|| If the victim was bitten by an unprovoked undomesticated animal such as a raccoon or a squirrel,
an immediate shot may be necessary to prevent the possibility of a rabies infection.
Contrary to common belief, a human bite can sometimes be more dangerous than that of an animal
because human saliva contains many more types of bacteria which may cause infection.
A bite from a domestic pet can be painful but rarely requires a visit to the emergency room and
unless obvious bodily harm was sustained, a simple precautionary treatment will suffice.
If an animal bites you or your child, follow these guidelines
- Use anti-bacterial soap and water to thoroughly clean the bite wound.
- Apply antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin to prevent infection.
- If the injury resulted in broken skin, dress it with a sterile bandage and replace the dressing frequently.
- If the bite is deep, the victim may need to be treated for a puncture wound.
For minor wounds. If the bite barely breaks the skin and there's no danger of rabies, treat it as a minor wound. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Apply an antibiotic cream to prevent infection and cover the bite with a clean bandage.
For deep wounds. If the animal bite creates a deep puncture of the skin or the skin is badly torn and bleeding, apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding and see your doctor.
For infection. If you notice signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, increased pain or oozing, see your doctor immediately.
For suspected rabies.If you suspect the bite was caused by an animal that might carry rabies - including any wild or domestic animal of unknown immunization status, particularly bats - see your doctor immediately.
Doctors recommend getting a tetanus shot every 10 years. If your last one was more than five years ago and your wound is deep or dirty, your doctor may recommend a booster. Get the booster as soon as possible after the injury.
Domestic pets cause most animal bites. Dogs are more likely to bite than cats. Cat bites, however, are more likely to cause infection because they are usually puncture wounds and can't be thoroughly cleaned. Bites from nonimmunized domestic animals and wild animals carry the risk of rabies. Rabies is more common in bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes than in cats and dogs. Rabbits, squirrels and other rodents rarely carry rabies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children or adults exposed to bats, or who are sleeping and discover bats present, seek medical advice, even if they don't think they've been bitten. This is because bat bite marks can be hard to see.