A dog bite is painful in the moment. It's frightening if you think the animal may continue to attack after the initial bite. Odds are that you had no idea that the attack was about to happen until it did.
However, for many people, the real risk comes later -- if the bite gets infected. The dog's teeth can press bacteria down into your tissue, well below the skin. These puncture wounds can lead to serious infections, and you could wind up in the hospital. An infection is nothing to take lightly. Serious infections can be life-threatening.
So, what can you do to prevent an infection? After the bite, you should:
- Press gently and leave the area uncovered. You want it to bleed a little, as this can flush the deepest bacteria.
- Rinse the bite out with water, and wash it with soap.
- Use clean materials to press on the wound and cover it, stopping the bleeding.
- Put antibiotic cream on the damaged area.
- Get a sterile bandage wrap and cover the bite so that you don't get other contaminants in it after the fact.
- Do not leave the same bandage on for too long. Change it frequently, and clean the wound if needed.
- Look out for fever, pain, redness and swelling. Any of these could mean you have an infection, and you need to see a doctor.
These steps help, but nothing guarantees you won't wind up with a very serious infection. If you are injured by a dog bite or attack and require medical treatment, you should look into all of your legal options, as you may be able to seek compensation from the dog's owner.