Over the years, a lot of incidents involving animal bites have been reported all over the world. And, most of these incidents became less fatal because patients were able to get animal bites first aid immediately. Knowing this, it has become a must for everyone to learn the basics of applying first aid in order to help save the lives of the people around them.
Basic First Aid For Animal Bites
Things to know about animal bites
Most animal bite cases involve domestic pets like dogs and cats. Although dogs are more likely to bite, cat bites are a lot more infectious. For this reason, it is a must for pet owners to immunize their pets in order to lessen the risk of rabies. Moreover, animals like skunks, foxes, raccoons, and bats carry rabies as well.
Before applying any animal bites first aid, ensure that you are calm and stable emotionally. This way, you will be able to do the first aid better and with ease. Staying calm also gives an impression to your patient that you really know what you are doing.
When to call 911
When a person gets bitten by animals (especially wild), call for emergency medical assistance first before applying any animal bites first aid. Moreover, the need of calling for medical assistance is greater when the patient has been seriously wounded, the bleeding is severe and won’t stop after applying firm pressure for ten (10) minutes, or when the blood spurts out from the wound.
Clean the wound
For a minor wound or shallow scratch due to animal bite, smoothly clean the area with soap and warm water. After cleaning, rinse the wound for several minutes. Apply antibiotic cream to the wound to reduce the risk of infection. Afterward, cover the wound using a sterile bandage. Remember not to put other substances (like toothpaste, garlic, and other treatments not prescribed by your doctor) directly to the wound as it may cause infection.
Stop the bleeding
If the wound is bleeding, apply direct pressure on it until the bleeding stops. Be sure to use a clean cloth or sterile bandage when applying pressure to the wound. In the event that the wound is bleeding severely, use a tourniquet to help stop the bleeding.
Get emergency medical assistance right away
For any animal bite that is more than a superficial wound, call for emergency medical assistance right away. If it so happens that the animal is wild or stray, call for emergency medical assistance regardless of the severity of the wound. Call the attention of your local animal control department as well in order to contain the animal and prevent it from causing more trouble. If the animal is domestic, call the attention of its owner and find out whether the animal’s rabies shots are maintained. Let your health care provider know of this information.
Follow up for health care providers
Health care providers must guarantee that the patient’s wound is immaculately clean. If there is a risk of rabies infection, health care providers should recommend anti-rabies treatment and may also require a tetanus shot. If the wound is severe, there may also be a need to stitch the wound. Acetaminophen can also be recommended to help ease the pain.