What Should I Do If I’ve Been Bitten by an Animal?

July 15, 2021

What Should I Do If I’ve Been Bitten by an Animal?- AFC Urgent Care

Getting bitten by an animal certainly isn’t pleasant. Most animal bites are caused by pets, like dogs and cats, and are most common among children.

Even though children are most often bitten, adults can get bitten, too! If you’ve been bitten by an animal, it’s important to know basic first aid to care for your bite.

Our AFC Urgent Care Ballantyne team highlights what you need to know about your bite and how to care for it below.

Will an Animal Bite Become Infected?

Most common animal bites don’t have a very high risk of becoming infected, but infection is still possible.

Cat bites, even though they’re typically less common than dog bites, have a higher infection risk due to their teeth being longer and sharper, which can cause deeper puncture wounds. Once a bite has occurred, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs or symptoms of infection. We’ve listed some of those common signs below.

Common Bite Infection Signs

  • Localized redness around your wound
  • Warmth around the bite area
  • Red streaks leading away from the bite
  • A fever
  • Pus
  • Swelling
  • Pain

How Can I Care for an Animal Bite?

Well, firstly, experts say to seek medical care within 24 hours for any type of animal bite that breaks the skin. Although many dogs and cats have updated rabies vaccines, many do not, which is one of the biggest reasons to visit your doctor if you have been bitten.

If your bite has come from your rabies-vaccinated dog or cat and isn’t severe, there are ways to care for it and help it correctly heal at home. We’ve listed some ways to do so below.

Ways to Treat An Animal Bite

  • Stop the wound from bleeding by applying direct pressure with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Wash the wound. Use mild soap and warm, running water. Rinse the bite for three to five minutes.
  • Apply an antibacterial ointment to the wound. This may help reduce the risk for infection.
  • Put on a dry, sterile bandage.
  • If the bite is on the neck, head, face, hand, fingers or feet, visit our AFC center ASAP.

Have you been bitten by an animal and need treatment? Don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Ballantyne team today!

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