Around 4.5 million people sustain dog bites annually in the United States alone. Around 800,000 of these people require medical treatment for their dog bites.
A dog of any breed can bite, whether they’re small or large, and even dogs who are familiar with you and seem to be friendly can lash out. Often, if a dog feels intimidated or fearful, it can become aggressive.
Preventing Dog Bites
Many dog bites are completely preventable with proper health and safety precautions. Being wary of any new dog that you come across is important to keep yourself safe. You should also familiarize yourself with the common signs of agitation and aggression in dogs to recognize when your pup might attack.
However, even if you act with caution around a dog, you are still vulnerable, and you can’t always prevent a bite. If you sustain a nasty dog injury and believe the owner’s negligence caused it, contact one of the Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers. A personal injury lawyer will help you to file a claim against the owner and gain compensation.
Dog Bite Infections
One of the most serious complications associated with dog bites is the risk of infection. Dogs can carry several diseases that are easily transmissible to humans through their saliva.
The most common post-dog bite infections are rabies, streptococcus, and staphylococcus. Each of these infections can cause serious illness in humans and can even result in fatalities.
It’s not always obvious when you’ve got a dog bite infection. Sometimes, you’re left with a small, barely visible wound, and you can’t see the internal damage caused by the dog bite.
Knowing the most common signs of dog bite infections will enable you to identify if and when you have been infected. You’ll be able to take action as soon as possible to prevent the infection from worsening and control your symptoms.
Symptoms of dog bite infections
So, what are the key signs and symptoms to look out for if you suspect you have an infection following a dog bite?
The most common symptoms of a dog bite infection include:
- Redness around the bite
- Itchiness at the site of the bite
- Swelling in the area
- Pain around the bite
- Blood and pus oozing from the bite
- Heat radiating from the area
- Difficulty moving the affected area of your body
- Excessive sweating
Preventing dog bite infections
Prevention is always better than treatment. Stopping an infection from developing in the first place is much more effective at keeping you safe than waiting until after the infection has developed to take action.
To treat a wound for infection prevention, you can try the following steps:
- Wash the wound with warm water and disinfecting soap
- Carefully wipe away any blood and pus from the area
- Run the wound under warm water to wash away bacteria from the area
- Apply antibacterial cream or ointment to the area
- Carefully wrap the wound with a fresh, clean dressing
You should send medical help if you aren’t sure how to properly treat your wound. Attend the nearest hospital so that a doctor or nurse can assess the wound, clean it, and dress it appropriately. A doctor will also be able to prescribe stronger antibiotic creams than those that you can buy over the counter in pharmacies.
Treating dog bite infections
The most appropriate treatment for a dog bite depends on its severity and location. You may be able to use at-home remedies to treat your wound and minimize the risk of infection. However, if the wound is severe, you may need specialized medical care to avoid infections and complications.
If your dog bite wound has already become infected, at-home treatments might not be sufficient.
To avoid major infection risks, your doctor may use natural saline solution to wash the area and flush away bacteria. They can also use special antibacterial wipes to get rid of blood and pus in the area.
After cleaning the wound, the doctor will apply strong antibacterial cream to kill any bacteria in the area and prevent the development of an infection. They will then wrap the dressing appropriately to cover the open wound and prevent further bacteria from infecting it.
Your doctor might assess the surrounding structures before dressing your wound to identify whether the dog bite has caused damage to your blood vessels, muscle tissue, tendons, or nerves. They might also assess for different structural issues through physical examinations and tests.
You might need to get a vaccine against tetanus if you haven’t previously had it, as there is a risk of developing this condition after a dog bite of any kind.