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How to Take Care of a Dog Bite

vicious looking dog that could biteAs much as we would like to believe that man’s best friend wouldn’t hurt a fly, they will. No seriously, they’ll hurt flies. I know a certain German shepherd who will go after flies, bees, butterflies and pretty much anything that has wings or moves faster than she does. She will chase after flies and snap at them hoping to catch the mysterious little buzzing object, while I myself sit back and secretly cheer her on, hoping someone will put an end to the bothersome buzzing. This blog, however, is not about dogs and their fly-chasing ways. It’s about how to act and what steps to take if instead of doing some innocent snapping at a fly or insect, a dog picks a different target: a person.

What Should I Do If Someone Is Bitten by a Dog?

Take the victim away from the attacking dog in order to prevent any further injury or attack. Since dog bites can cause significant damage exceeding what we can see, medical care should be obtained as soon as possible to help determine the extent of the damage. Wounds should be kept elevated and if possible washed with soap and water. It is important to try and obtain information regarding the dog’s owner and the immunization record of the dog.

Will a Dog Bite Need Any Medication?

If the doctor believes that there is a high risk of infection, usually occurring with injuries to the hands, feet and face, a seven day course of antibiotics may be prescribed.  The potential for infection with dog bites is high since dog bites instill bacteria deep into tissues, making it more prone to infections.

How Will I Know If a Dog Bite Has Become Infected?

First and foremost, if you believe that a dog bite has become infected, seek medical advice immediately. Signs indicating an infection include:

  • The wound becomes more painful.
  • A fever with a temperature of 38°C/ 100.8° F or above.
  • Redness and excessive swelling around the dog bite.
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Fluid or pus leaking from the bite.

I am sure that there are many more questions that arise throughout the process of treating and learning how to take care of a dog bite.  For any further questions on how to care for a dog bite, consult your physician and follow his/her instructions. If you are seeking to take legal action, give our office a call and we will answer any questions you may have.

Photo credit: State Farm / Foter / CC BY

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