Although you might think that a dog bite is pretty harmless, you can be painfully wrong. Dog bites may seem like no big deal, but they come with a ton of bacteria; if you don’t take care of the bite properly, it can become very serious. If you have been bitten by a dog and the bite broke the skin, there are things that you have to do – no ifs, ands or buts.
What to do when bitten by a dog, is to ensure that the dog is current on their rabies shots. If they aren’t, that can be cause for even greater concern. If you aren’t sure, then the first thing you have to do is to seek medical emergency care. If the dog bite has broken the skin or is serious, then it is a good idea to go to the nearest emergency room instead of handling it on your own.
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If you think that the bite is minor enough that you can care for it on your own, these are the steps that you have to take to handle it without medical assistance.
1 Press on the would directly
To make sure that bacteria doesn’t get trapped under the skin you will want to press directly on the bite wound to flush out any remaining dirt, debris, or bacteria that might be lurking. Even if it hurts, pressing down hard is an important part of clearing away the bacteria.
2 Wash the wound thoroughly
If you have been bitten by a dog, you will want to make sure that you wash the bite wound thoroughly. Use water and a mild soap that won’t cause irritation. Also, use a sterile cloth so that you aren’t introducing any new bacteria into the puncture area.
3 If it is bleeding, stop it
If the wound is large enough to cause bleeding, then you will want to get the bleeding to stop. Take a sterile or clean cloth and place it over the bite. You need to keep it on the wound, pressing lightly until the bleeding ceases.
4 Apply an antibiotic cream
Because you don’t want to take the chance that the wound will become infected, you must apply a preventative antibiotic cream on top to kill any bacteria that might not have been washed away. It is always best to be preventative, rather than to wait for an infection to the surface and then try to treat it.
5 Change the bandage frequently
To ensure that an infection doesn’t set in, you need to change the bandage around the wound several times throughout the day. When you change the bandage, you will want to re-apply the antibiotic cream continually to keep the area bacteria-free.
6 Watch for signs of infection
You will definitely want to keep a very close eye on the wound to ensure that it doesn’t become infected. Signs of infection are red streaks in the skin, or if the wound becomes extremely hot to the touch. If it is painful or starts to ooze that is a sure sign that you need medical attention. Also, if you develop a fever, then you must see a medical professional to ensure that the infection hasn’t gotten into your bloodstream, where it can become very serious.
When to see a doctor
There are times when caring for your dog bite on your own simply isn’t smart. If the wound is severe enough to require stitches, then you have to go to the emergency room. Also, if the bleeding won’t stop, you are in severe pain, or you develop a fever, there is no way to avoid an ER visit. For small dog bites, however, if you clean it well and pay close attention to the wound to ensure that it doesn’t become infected, you should be all right.
If the dog bite does require medical attention, then you might be able to receive compensation for your dog bite. Depending on which state you live in, the dog owner might be liable to pay for your economic and noneconomic damages. First, make sure that you are all right; then talk to a personal injury lawyer if you think you deserve compensation for your injuries.