Dealing with dog bites
Dealing with dog bites, learning about their potential dangers, and how to prevent them is important. Find out why it’s important to seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog and the importance of responsible pet ownership in reducing the incidence of dog bites.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year. And about 900,000 of those bites become infected. Victims of dog bites often know the dog that attacked them.
The head and neck are the most common site of bites, especially in children up to age 10 years. This is probably because a child’s head is closer to the level of a large dog’s mouth. The arms and legs, particularly the right hand, are the most frequent site of injury for older children and adults.
A dog bite can lead to a range of injuries, including scratches, deep open cuts, puncture wounds, crush injuries, and tearing away of a body part. They rarely cause death. However, it’s equally important to get help at urgent care for dog bites.
After being bitten by any animal, it’s important to quickly and carefully clean the wound thoroughly with soap and plenty of water. This can help prevent infection. If there’s bleeding, a clean towel or gauze should be pressed to the wound to slow or stop the bleeding.
Do I need treatment for dog bites?
Adults or children who have been bitten by a dog should see a healthcare provider if:
- An animal bite has broken through the skin and bleeding does not stop after applying pressure for 15 minutes
- A bone may be broken, or if there’s another serious injury
- A bite victim has diabetes, liver disease, cancer, HIV infection, or takes medications that could weaken the immune system
Antibiotics can help prevent infection in people with high-risk wounds, facial wounds, wounds involving a bone or joint, and for people with other health problems, such as a weak immune system or diabetes, which could increase the risk of serious infection.
Infection from dog bites
It’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible after a dog bite. This can help reduce the chance of developing an infection. The most common complication of a dog bite are:
Tetanus is a serious, potentially life-threatening infection that can be transmitted by an animal or human bite. Consequently, if you are not up-to-date with your tetanus vaccine, you’ll need a booster.
If a dog bit you, and it could potentially have rabies, you MUST seek medical attention to determine if you need a series of injections to prevent rabies. Remember: Rabies is almost always fatal. Therefore, it’s important to get urgent care for any dog bite.
Dog bites can be a serious issue and can cause physical and emotional harm to both the victim and the dog. It’s important to be aware of the potential dangers of dogs and to take steps to prevent bites, such as proper training, socialization, and supervision of dogs.
If a bite does occur, take action now and find the nearest urgent care center to you. And don’t forget to take the necessary precautions to avoid dog bites in the future by being aware of your surroundings and the behavior of dogs, and by properly training, socializing, and supervising your own dogs.