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Animal bites: First aid Print/Conditions/Prevention

 Animal bites: First aid Print

If you have a minor animal bite or claw wound, take these steps:

  • Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water to clean it.
  • Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment to the bite and cover it with a clean bandage.
Animal bites: First aid Print


If any of the following happens, go to the doctor right away:

  • If you have a deep wound, it is serious. If you don't know how serious the wound is, it's probably not that bad.
  • If the skin is badly torn, crushed, or bleeding, apply pressure to stop the bleeding first.
  • If you notice increasing swelling, redness, or pain in your skin, this is a sign that you may have an infection.
  • If you were bitten by a cat or dog, and you don't know for sure if the animal has had its rabies vaccination updated, try to find out from the animal. If the bite was inflicted by an animal not usually found in your area (for example, a wild animal), then you should speak to your doctor about whether there is any danger involved. Rabies is a dangerous virus that can cause severe brain damage if not treated.

    Bats can carry rabies and can infect people who come in contact with them. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people who are in contact with bats, or who awaken to find a bat in their bedroom, go to the doctor. Even if someone does not think they have been bitten by a rabies virus, they should get a shot in case they have.

  • If you haven't had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years, or if the wound is deep or dirty, you may need a booster shot.
Animal bites: First aid Print/Conditions/Prevention

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