How should I handle a dog bite?

How should I handle a dog bite?

| Sep 2, 2020 | Firm News |

Dog bites can range from playful little nips to violent serious injuries that require extensive treatment. If a dog has bitten you, you may wonder what the best way is to care for the bite. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, here are some steps to treat a dog bite. 

Treat it immediately

Dog bites can turn into serious medical issues if they do not receive prompt and proper treatment. There is always the risk of infection, which could lead to intravenous antibiotics and even hospitalization. Keep in mind that if you are a diabetic or otherwise immunocompromised, your risk is higher. 

To reduce this risk of infection, you want to attend to the wound as quickly as possible. Immediately wash it with warm water and soap, and if necessary, press a clean cloth to the bite so you can stop the bleeding. Apply an antibiotic cream to the wound, and bandage it using a new, sterile bandage. Then seek medical treatment. 

Seek medical attention promptly

After you have cleaned and tended to your dog bite, you should see a medical professional within 8 hours to have the wound examined. When a dog clamps down on one of your body parts, its teeth rip your skin, thus causing an open, rough wound and compressing your tissue. Approximately half of dog bites carry bacteria such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, Capnocytophaga or Pasteurella. As a result, you need a doctor to assess whether you are at risk for infection and whether there is a chance of rabies. 

Once she or he examines your wound, your doctor then determines whether you need stitches. You should also discuss whether your tetanus shot is up to date or if a new one is necessary. Until the wound heals, check it regularly for signs of infection such as pus, swelling, heat, redness or pain.