“Roughly around 20,000 deaths occur in India because of Rabies. Also an alarming rate of 36% of the world’s rabies deaths occur in India each year, most of those when children come into contact with infected dogs.”
Astonishingly enough, a person is more likely to be bitten by a dog he is familiar to than by a street dog! So basically, you can be bit by a dog when you least expect it, and probably there isn’t much you can do to prevent it. A harmless looking bite too can cause infection, rabies and even result in death.
Though you can provide first aid for a dog bite, you still need to get it checked from an expert especially if the dog is an unfamiliar one, the wound doesn’t stop bleeding, there is redness, pus formation, swelling, or if the area is warmer than the rest of the body. If a dog bite is not treated with antibiotics, it can lead to infections.
Here is a general protocol that our experts panel suggests that should be followed in case of a dog bite:
1. Clean the wound gently with soap and water.
2. Pat it dry
3. Apply pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding
4. Apply a sterile bandage to the wound
5. As much as possible, elevate the wound to a level higher than the heart as this will slow down the rate of swelling and prevent infection.
6. Apply an antibiotic every day to prevent the occurrence of any infection.
7. Visiting a doctor is a must IF:
- The wound is deep and gaping
- You have diabetes, cancer, AIDS or any other disease that would reduce your immunity and make you more susceptible to infection
- You don’t stop bleeding after 15 minutes of pressure
- You suspect there is serious injury like nerve or tissue damage because of the dog bite
- It’s been over 5 years since you took a tetanus vaccine
- You were bitten by a stray dog or a dog whose vaccination status is unknown.