A dog bite is painful and dangerous and instills a fear of the animal. It is said that roughly 20,000 deaths in India occur due to Rabies through dog bite. What is alarming is that 36% of the world’s rabies deaths occur in our country each year. Unfortunately, most victims are children who are bitten by infected dogs.
Astonishingly enough, a person is more likely to get a dog bite from a dog he is familiar with than by a street dog! So basically, you can be bitten by a dog when you least expect it, and probably there isn’t much you can do to prevent it.
Even if the dog bite is harmless to look at, it can lead to serious infection or rabies, and eventually result in death.
In case of a dog bite, you can provide first aid, but it is best to get it looked at by a doctor. This is even more important in case of a dog bite from an unfamiliar or unknown dog. If the wound does not stop bleeding or there is pus formation or redness with swelling, and if the bitten region is warmer than the other parts of the body, you need to see a doctor ASAP. A dog bite must be treated with antibiotics or it will lead to infections.
Here is a general but important protocol to follow (as suggested by experts) in case of a dog bite:
– Clean the bite wound with soap and water, gently
– Gently pat it dry
– If it is bleeding, apply pressure on to it to stop the bleeding
– Put a sterile bandage over the wound
– Alleviate the wounded region to a level higher than the heart. This helps in slowing down the swelling and prevents infection
– Apply antibiotics daily
It is imperative to visit a doctor if:
- The dog bite wound is large, deep and gaping
- If you are a diabetic, cancer patient or have AIDS
- If you any other diseases that reduce your immunity
- If the wound has not stopped bleeding after 15 minutes of applying pressure
- If there is a nerve or tissue damage due to dog bite
- If in the last five years you have not taken a tetanus vaccine
- If you are bitten by a stray dog or an unknown dog