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What to do if you are bitten by a dog

Dogs bite 4.5 million Americans every year, which is a somewhat high statistic. Because of that, it can benefit anyone to understand what steps should be taken after being bitten by a dog.

According to WebMD, the first step starts with first aid at home. The bite should be compressed or elevated if possible. It should then be cleaned and disinfected, bandaged well, and covered in antibiotic ointment every day in order to keep it from becoming infected. However, a person should go to the doctor if they see any of the following:

  •          Redness, warmth, swelling or pus
  •          Deep puncture marks
  •          Bleeding that will not stop

Regardless of the injury itself, anyone who is bitten by an unfamiliar dog should go to the doctor immediately in case of disease. Depending on the severity of the wound, it is possible for someone to need sutures or even plastic surgery.

The Mayo Clinic also states that shots may be administered. Tetanus vaccinations may be necessary if it has been more than five years since the patient’s last shot. It is recommended that a new one is received every ten years, so anything longer than five might require a booster. Additionally, though rabies are not common in dogs in America, a rabies vaccine can be given if the dog tests positive in a rabies test, or if the health status of the dog cannot be determined.

When in doubt, the patient should go to their doctor immediately regardless of the bite severity, or contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to determine what steps they should take after being bitten.

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