What You Need to Know About Animal Bites

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.
– Treat major cuts or puncture wounds.

NORMAL SYMPTOMS OF A BITE:

– Bruising.
– Blue or yellow discoloration.
– Swelling.

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.
– Prolonged bleeding.
– 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.
– Stray animals.
– Rodents.

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.Prowildlife.ca

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.

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