A dog attack can be a terrifying experience, especially if that attack results in a bite. The best defense is always prevention. But what do you do once you've been bitten? By following a few important dog bite safety tips, you can reduce your risk of infection and minimize the overall impact of the negative experience.
The first thing you should do when you've been the victim of a dog bite is to keep calm. Panicking can further provoke the dog and prevent you from thinking clearly enough to take the next steps for your own safety. Breathe deeply and get to a safe place as quickly as possible so you can begin to treat your wound.
Dog saliva can carry lots of bacteria so the risk of infection is high in an injury like this. In order to best protect yourself from infection, it's important to begin treating your wound as soon as you're in a safe place. First, you'll need to stop the bleeding. To do this, place a clean towel over the wound while keeping the injured area elevated.
When the bleeding has stopped, carefully and gently wash the wound with soap and water. Antibacterial gel soap is a great tool to keep in your home first aid kit as it will allow you to effectively clean a dog bite while also helping to kill any bacteria that may be present.
After you've thoroughly washed your wound, allow it to air dry or dry it by patting it very gently with a clean towel. You should then apply a sterile bandage to the area. You should continue to treat the injury by applying antibiotic ointment to the entire area every day and changing the bandage. Be sure to watch for signs of infection like redness, swelling or skin that feels hot to the touch.
You should always keep in mind the high risk of infection with this type of injury and for that reason, it's recommended that you visit a doctor after initially treating your wound at home.
Dog bite safety doesn't end with you! After you've taken care to treat your wound at home, get to your doctor or local emergency department as quickly as possible. The sooner you receive medical attention, the less likely the wound will become infected.
Be prepared to answer some questions about the dog and how the injury occurred.
More often than not stitches will not be used to suture a dog bite. In dog bite safety, the risk of infection is higher when the wound has been sutured. Your physician may prescribe a cycle of antibiotics to ensure that an infection doesn't occur.
You can find additional information by following the link at the end of this article for a list of questions your doctor may ask as well as a little more detail on what to expect during your visit.
If you're bitten by a dog that's not your own you may wish to consider consulting a reputable personal injury attorney. Lawyers like those at Carter Mario specialize in personal injury and can advise you on how best to handle the situation so that you can minimize and alleviate financial and legal issues that may arise. Seeking professional advice is highly recommended once you've attended to your health.
Dog bite safety begins with prevention. However, sometimes bites do happen. Staying calm and following these simple steps will ensure your health and safety after you've been the victim of a dog bite.