First Aid When Bitten by a Dog

If you or someone you know is bitten by a dog, don’t panic or even ignore it. Immediately take this first aid step.

For those of you who have dogs, don’t forget to get the rabies vaccine. Rabies, also known as “mad dog disease,” is a viral infection spread by the bite or scratch of an infected animal.

Although almost all cases of rabies (99 percent) are caused by dogs, other animals such as raccoons, wolves, skunks, ferrets, foxes, and cats can also spread it.

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After being bitten by an infected animal, usually the patient will not immediately show symptoms of rabies. There is an incubation time, which is the time between the bite and symptoms. The incubation period usually lasts 1-3 months. 

Acute symptoms of rabies are just like the flu and last for 2-10 days. Once symptoms appear, rabies becomes a deadly disease. Therefore, it is very important to treat dog bites.

When bitten by a dog, try not to panic. Immediately take the following first aid steps for being bitten by a dog: 

1. Wash the wound with running water

Handling when bitten by a dog that first needs to be done is to wash the wound. Immediately clean the wound with running water. Especially if there is an open wound.

2. Clean Using Soap

In addition to being cleaned using running water, dog bite wounds should also be cleaned with soap.

3. Apply Emphasis on the Wound Area

To prevent infection from being bitten by a dog, first aid that is no less important is to apply pressure to the wound area. If there is active bleeding from the bite wound, apply pressure to the wound area to stop the bleeding immediately.

4. Give Antiseptic

After washing the wound and cleaning it with soap, the next step is to use an antiseptic liquid to clean the wound optimally. This is done so that infection due to dog bites does not occur.

5. Dress the Wound

Wounds that have been cleaned using an antiseptic need to be closed immediately. You can cover the wound with sterile gauze as a first aid for biting a dog. This action is taken to avoid the risk of infection.

6. Position the Bite Location

Also, make sure you position the dog bite wound properly. You should place the injured part in a higher position.

7. Consumption of painkillers

If the first aid steps for being bitten by the dog have been carried out, then you feel pain in the wound, you can take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

8. Check with the Doctor

You can treat dog bites yourself at home. All you have to do is follow the first aid guide for being bitten by a dog. However, don’t forget to immediately go to the nearest doctor for further wound care.

Also, try to get the rabies vaccine within a few hours of the dog biting incident.

The reason is, dog bites, both small and large, are equally at risk for transmitting the rabies virus. Therefore, even if it is only a scratch and the patient is not aware of being bitten by a dog, it is better to see a doctor.

Remember, scratches can also spread the rabies virus, so handling dog bites need to be done properly and carefully. 

Handling dog bites is very important to prevent rabies. Therefore, apply first aid when bitten by a dog to reduce the risk of infection.

In addition, if you or your pets such as dogs or cats have not been vaccinated against rabies, get them immediately to prevent this deadly disease. Also avoid animals with no known history of rabies vaccine or wild animals, and avoid touching dead wild animals.

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