Should I Be Worried If I’ve Been Bitten by an Animal?

July 16, 2021

Should I Be Worried If I’ve Been Bitten by an Animal?- AFC Urgent Care

Whether it’s by your generally sweet dog, typically mild cat, or a squirrel or rodent trying to protect itself in the woods, getting bitten by an animal can happen to anyone. So, what are you supposed to do if you’ve been bitten, and, perhaps more importantly, should you be worried?

Our AFC Urgent Care Cleveland team provides some answers below.

What Should I Do First After an Animal Bite?

If you’ve been bitten by any type of animal, the first thing you should do is perform first aid on the wound. Make sure to execute each step that we’ve provided in the list below.

Secondly, always seek medical care/advice if you have been bitten by an animal or person and the bite has broken the skin. Both people and animals have a lot of bacteria in their mouths, which can cause an infection if a bite breaks the skin.

First-Aid Steps for an Animal Bite

  • Wash the wound. Use mild soap, and run warm tap water over it for five to 10 minutes.
  • Slow the bleeding with a clean cloth.
  • Apply over-the-counter antibiotic cream if you have it.
  • Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage.
  • Keep the wound bandaged and see your doctor.
  • Change the bandage several times a day once your doctor has examined the wound.
  • Watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, increased pain and fever.

Should I Be Worried About Rabies?

Rabies is, in fact, a real concern. Although most household pets have the rabies vaccine and aren’t a threat to give it to you if you’ve been bitten, some don’t have the vaccine. If you don’t know the animal that has bitten you, it’s important to visit your doctor ASAP to make sure that you haven’t been exposed to the virus. Your doctor will likely give you a rabies vaccine as a safety measure.

If the animal that bit you was showing any of the below-mentioned rabies symptoms, then seek medical care immediately.

Common Rabies Symptoms

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Cerebral dysfunction
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Aggression

If you’ve been bitten by an animal and the bite has broken the skin, the best thing to do is visit our AFC Urgent Care Cleveland center to get the treatment you need!

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