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Posted By Content Amplified on 01/16/2020 in Outdoor Adventures

Properly Reacting To An Animal Bite

Properly Reacting To An Animal Bite


Animal bites are a relatively common injury. While dogs cause more bite injuries than any other animal, cat bites are more likely to become infected. Other animal bites — especially ones that come from wild or stray animals — can cause a variety of complications ranging from mild skin infections to more serious diseases, such as rabies and tetanus. If the wound is minor, however, it can be treated with simple first aid in most cases. Here’s how to properly assess an animal bite and the treatment options that are available.


Once you’re safely away from the animal, stop any bleeding by applying pressure directly to the affected area with a sterile cloth or gauze. If the bleeding hasn’t stopped after 15 minutes of firm pressure, seek immediate medical attention.  


Once the bleeding stops, clean the wound by gently washing it out with soap and water for three to five minutes. Treat the wound with an antibiotic ointment and cover it with a sterile bandage. Keep an eye on the bite and look for signs of infection, including fever or redness and swelling around the affected area.


More severe bites may require professional medical care, such as irrigation to clean out the wound and debridement to remove any damaged or dead tissue. In some cases, stitches may be needed immediately after the bite. Treatment depends on the location of the injury, if a foreign object is stuck in the wound and whether the animal has been vaccinated against rabies.


For more tips on how to properly deal with an animal bite, see the accompanying infographic.


Author bio: Tracy Tiernan received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in 1987. He went on to secure his J.D., or law degree, from The University of Tulsa in 1990. While attending law school, Tracy interned for a highly successful Personal Injury Law firm in the Tulsa area where he was involved in the litigation and trial preparation of Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation and Criminal cases. Tracy, who was involved in a few college sports, enjoys running, participating in the occasional obstacle race, and coaching his children's soccer teams to keep his mind sharp. He resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his children. 


Infographic created by Tracy Tiernan


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