Once bitten: what to do when an animal bites you
Most people identify as animal lovers. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, 60.2% of American households have a dog and more than 47% a cat. Not to mention reptiles, birds, and other large mammals! Although animals play an important role in our lives, different triggers can cause an animal to attack.
In 2017, the city of San Antonio, Texas, experienced an influx of stray dogs that has become a problem for the United States Postal Service (USPS). In a news segment on KENS5, San Antonio was reported to be ranked 11th in the nation for dog attacks on postal workers. The CDC also tells us that men and boys are more likely to be attacked by dogs.
Prevention is key: animals will generally give warning signals before attacking. Grunting, hissing, arched back, and lowered ears are just some of the signals animals give us when they feel threatened.
For Dogs: Stay away from an unfamiliar dog, don’t make eye contact, and back away slowly.
For Cats: Stay away when they start to show aggression (i.e. raised hair, arched back, wagging tail, etc.). Give the animal a chance to calm down before trying to interact with it.
Wild Animals – Keep calm, make yourself look bigger than you are and slowly back away. Never run away from a wild animal; This can trigger your chasing instinct.
Get to Safety – Put as much distance as you can between the victim and the animal. Use your body, clothing, or items such as a purse or backpack to prevent the animal from attacking vulnerable areas such as the neck and face.
Evaluate the situation: depending on the animal and the chances of it being vaccinated, you may or may not need medical assistance. If the wounds are not too deep, the animal has been vaccinated in the last 364 days and is up to date with its tetanus vaccinations, you can safely clean the area with soap and water, use an antibiotic ointment on the injury. and bandage it. Seek medical attention if the lesion becomes red, painful, or swollen.
Know when to seek help: Seek medical attention immediately if the victim has deep wounds with excessive bleeding, has a fever, or is attacked by an animal that has not been vaccinated in the last year. Many animals carry harmful diseases that can lead to infection and, in some cases, even death.