How Do I Treat an Animal Bite That Breaks the Skin?

Animal bites are both painful and scary. Some aren’t that serious and don’t even break the skin, but some can become serious and at risk of becoming infected. So, how are you supposed to successfully treat them if you or your child has been bitten?

Our AFC Urgent Care Gastonia provides some answers below, so read on!

Is It Possible for My Bite to Get Infected?

It’s definitely possible, but it’s not super common among dog bites, which are the most common type of bite.

Cat bites, due to the longer and sharper teeth of cats, and other wild or stray animal bites, due to their chances of not having updated vaccinations, have a higher chance of becoming infected. Once a bite has occurred, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs or symptoms of infection. We’ve listed some of those common signs below.

Common Bite Infection Signs

  • Localized redness around your wound
  • Warmth around the bite area
  • Red streaks leading away from the bite
  • A fever
  • Pus
  • Swelling
  • Pain

What Should I Do If I Get Bitten?

If you’ve been bitten by an animal, the first thing you should do is treat the bite yourself. You can effectively do this by stopping the bleeding by applying pressure on the wound with a dry cloth, washing and rinsing the wound with soap and water, applying an antibacterial ointment on the wound and, finally, bandaging up the bite wound. If you can’t get the bleeding to stop, though, visit our AFC center or your doctor ASAP as stitches may be needed to properly care for the bite wound.

Once you’ve done all the first aid you can at home, visit your doctor. Even if the bite isn’t too severe, it’s always best to seek medical attention just to be safe. There are specific signs that a doctor visit is absolutely necessary, though, and we’ve listed those reasons below.

When to See a Doctor For a Dog Bite

  • If the bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes of pressure.
  • If the bite has broken the skin. A tetanus shot may be necessary to reduce the possibility of tetanus infection.
  • If you were bitten by a wild, stray dog or other animal, or you are unable to obtain the animal’s immunization records from the owner.
  • If you have a weakened immune system, either due to an illness (such as diabetes) or medical treatment (such as chemotherapy).
  • If you notice any signs of infection, including redness, swelling, warmth or pus.

Don’t wait to visit our AFC Urgent Care Gastonia team today to get the necessary medical care if you or your child has been bitten by an animal!