Dogs provide so much joy and companionship to people’s lives, but they can also be the cause of major injury. This is especially true when bitten by an unknown dog, as there are many variables to account for.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, proper first aid is crucial after a dog bite. Here are a few important steps to take before you schedule a visit with a doctor.
Clean the wound thoroughly
Approximately 50% of bites from dogs will transfer some kind of bacteria to the victim. As a result, the wound requires immediate cleaning to decrease the risk of infection. Clean with warm water and a mild, non-irritating soap. Allow water to run over the wound for at least five minutes.
Apply ointment and wrap in a sterile bandage
Antibiotic creams are available over the counter and offer further protection against infection. Apply to the wound, then cover the area with a clean, sterile bandage. After medical evaluation, you should change the bandage on a regular basis to keep the area clean.
Be vigilant about signs of infection
When changing the bandage, look for redness and swelling. More serious infections will also cause increased pain and fever. If you have questions, do not hesitate to reach out to a doctor.
No matter how serious the wound appears, you must see a doctor as soon as possible, Along with assessing your infection risk and providing medication, your doctor will also evaluate whether there is a rabies risk. If you cannot track down the dog, or there is a chance of a rabies infection, your doctor may choose to vaccinate you against rabies as a precaution.