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Bites and Stings

Bites and Stings

Animal bites can be dangerous for several reasons. Animal bites can be deep and there is a high risk of infection.

  • If the bite is minor, clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water and apply a thin layer of antibiotic cream. Cover with a bandage.
  • For deeper wounds, apply pressure to stop any bleeding and seek medical attention. If medical help is not readily available, stop any bleeding, clean the wound well and apply a clean dressing until medical attention is available.

Any time the skin is broken, there is risk of infection. Signs of infection (redness, swelling, pain that is getting worse instead of better, warmth, red streaks moving out from the wound) require medical help immediately. A tetanus shot is required if tetanus is not up to date.

If there is a chance that the animal carried rabies, it is critical that medical help be sought immediately. If possible, cage the animal that bit the victim, but do not risk a second bite to yourself. Remember that unimmunized domesticated animals can also carry rabies. In many areas of the US, a large proportion of the populations of bats and skunks are rabid. Any wild animal that is acting unusually (i.e. it lets you get close to it) may be ill with rabies.

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