If you get bitten by an animal, there is a risk of infection. It’s important to understand the risks associated with these bites and what to do if you or your child is bitten.
Common infections that you can get following an animal bite
Bacterial infections are the most common type of infection that can occur after an animal bite. The bacteria that are most often associated with these infections are Pasteurella, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. Usually, for instance, dog bites will contain Pasteurella bacteria. If you’re bitten by a cat, you’re more likely to develop a bacterial infection called Bartonella henselae, which can cause an illness called cat scratch disease. Viral infections, such as rabies, are much less common than bacterial infections but can be much more serious.
How do you know if you have an infection?
The most common symptom of a bacterial infection is redness, swelling and pain at the site of the bite. If the infection is more serious, you may also have fever, chills and body aches. A viral infection, such as rabies, can cause flu-like symptoms, such as headache, nausea and vomiting. In some cases, it can also lead to more serious problems, such as seizures, paralysis and even death.
What steps should you take if you’re bitten by an animal?
If you’re bitten by an animal, such as a dog, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Your doctor may clean the wound and may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent infection. In some cases, they may also recommend a tetanus shot. If the bite is deep or if you think the animal may have had rabies, you may need to go to the hospital for further treatment.
While you can’t always prevent animal bites, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk. When you’re around animals, make sure to give them space and never approach them from behind. Be especially careful around wild animals and animals that are acting strangely. If you have pets, make sure they’re up to date on their vaccinations and keep them well-groomed to help reduce the risk of infection.