Once an individual sustains a dog bite, either through unintentionally provoking or playing with one, it is vital to make sure that an infection is prevented from developing. Always remember that a dog’s mouth is packed with bacteria and if an individual is bitten, there is likelihood that the bacteria and microorganism are transferred to the wound. It is important to clean a dog bite thoroughly. If you want to learn more on proper wound cleaning, click here.
Risk for rabies
If a dog bite is not properly cleaned and left untreated, there is a high risk for getting rabies. It is a disease that primarily targets the central nervous system and can even lead to death in severe cases.
The initial signs of rabies include high fever, pain or itchiness at the bite site, headache, irritability and even confusion. Rabies is easily transferred through a bite but also through contact with the brain tissue of the animal and its saliva.
Steps in handling a dog bite
You have to take into consideration these first aid measures when cleaning a dog bite.
- The initial step in cleaning a dog bite is to wash the area carefully using soap and warm water. Take note that this will help with the removal of the bacteria, debris and saliva present on the wound and the surrounding area.
- You have to scrub the affected area for at least two minutes. Even though this can cause pain, it can help minimize the risk for an infection from developing.
- Once the wound has been properly rinsed, you have to apply an antiseptic to help further eliminate bacteria that were not completely removed from the wound and surrounding areas.
- Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment on a gauze pad or Band Aid depending on the size of the wound. This will be applied over the wound. Always make it a point to change the bandage two times in a day until the wound is completely closed. At this point, you have to allow the air to help with the healing process.
- If possible, you have to instruct the individual to position the wound higher than the level of the heart to minimize the swelling. Additionally, this will also help prevent infection from occurring.
- For deep wounds, it is best to seek emergency care right away. You should also consult a doctor if the wound is still red in color after two days or continues to swell. Take note that these are likely indications of an infection. In such cases, the doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics to help eliminate the infection.
By following these first aid measures when cleaning a dog bite, it will help promote the healing process as well as prevent further complications from occurring.