They may be our best friends, but dogs are animals and can bite. In fact, about 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, half of them between the ages of 5 and 9. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one-fifth of these bites cause injuries requiring medical attention. Also, children are more likely than adults to be injured by a dog bite.
A stray or strange dog may bite, but most of the time it's actually a dog you know, such as a friend's dog or a family pet.
How to prevent dog bites:
Dog bite treatment
Although you can give first aid for dog bites at home, you should see a doctor, especially if you've been bitten by an unfamiliar dog, the bite is deep, the bleeding doesn't stop, or you have signs of infection (redness, swelling, heat, pus). Dog bites can result in infections that need to be treated with the help of antibiotics.
How to treat dog bites at home:
When you visit your doctor, be prepared to answer some questions, such as:
People with diabetes, liver disease, diseases that suppress the immune system, and other health conditions may be at higher risk for more serious infections.
A doctor will examine the injury to determine if the bite is deep enough to damage a muscle, tendon, nerve, or bone. Next, your doctor may clean the bite thoroughly to remove dirt and bacteria and may remove dead tissue from the wound.
Sutures are sometimes used to close dog bites. However, this practice is controversial. Suturing the wound can reduce scarring but also increases the risk of infection. Whether the injury is closed depends on its location. For example, dog bites can be sutured onto the face to avoid visible scarring. Very deep scars that cause a lot of damage may require plastic surgery.
Doctors also take steps to prevent infection. Rabies is rare in dogs in the United States, but if a dog's medical condition is unknown or if it tests positive for rabies, it should be vaccinated against rabies through a series of vaccinations over a two-week period. (Remember that dogs should be euthanized and brain tested for rabies.) Doctors will also make sure the bitten person is up to date on tetanus vaccinations.
Seek urgent care from Texas Specialty Clinics, if you have been bitten by a dog. Call us immediately and get quality treatment.