What You Should Do With Animal Bites

Getting bitten by an animal isn't something you can just let heal on its own. Whether you were bitten by a cat, dog, hamster, raccoon, or whatever animal that has crossed your path, it's imperative to apply first aid and seek medical attention.

Points To Remember
- Most animal bites are caused by domestic pets.
- Although dogs are the biters, it is cat bite that is more likely to cause infection.
- Rabies, meanwhile is common among non-immunized wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.
- Some animals like rabbits, squirrels and rodents rarely have rabies.
- Animals may bite even when unprovoked. Wild animals like a raccoon, for instance, can attack and bite for no reason.

Symptoms of animal bite infection include:
- redness on or around the affected site
- swelling
- pus or thick drainage from the wound
- worsening pain
- warmth at the bite side
- red streaks
- fever.

Cat and Dog Bites
If the bite hardly breaks the skin and there is no danger of rabies, the bite can be treated as a minor wound.

Minor bite treatments:
- Wash the wound under running water.
- Use soap and rinse thoroughly.
- Apply pressure using a clean cloth to stop bleeding.
- Apply antibiotic cream to prevent infection.
- Cover the wound with sterile bandage.
- Elevate the affected area to stop swelling.

Major bite treatment:
- Now, if it is a major bite, wash the wound with running water and visit the doctor right away to get the necessary treatment that includes rabies shot if the animal has rabies.

Wild Animal Bites
If you've been bitten by raccoons, foxes or any other wild animal:
- Apply pressure on the wound with a clean cloth to stop bleeding.
- Wash the wound with running water and go to the doctor right away.
- You must get rabies shot as soon as possible if the wild animal has rabies.

Snake Bites
Snake bites are some of the most dangerous animal bites you can encounter.

- First of all, you have to immediately get away from the snake. Make sure you are safe from getting bitten again.

- Then call 911 immediately. Don't waste any second. Don't wait for the pain to come in before you do this. Snake bites are poisonous and can cause permanent tissue damage, or even death. Do not elevate a snake bite.

- Remove any clothing and jewelry near the bitten area. This is important because the area may swell and constricting items can lead to death of tissue.

- Cleanse the wound without flushing it with water, and cover it with a clean, dry cloth.

- If what bit you is from the elapid species like cobras and coral snakes, wrap the bite with an elastic bandage. Be sure to keep it lower than the heart.
- Don't resort to cutting or sucking.
- Even those snake bite kits you can buy from the drug store are not effective. If you cut the snake bite, it would only cause more infections.

Animal bites can be dangerous. Remember, it's not the size of the animal that matters. Whether you're bitten by a big brown bear or a small cute raccoon, you must right away do the necessary first aid and visit the doctor.

 


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