For some animal bites, self-care is adequate, but others are serious enough to require emergency medical attention.
If you do get bitten, follow this advice:
- If the bite breaks the skin, treat it as you would a minor wound. Wash the area well with soap and water. Apply an antibiotic cream and cover it with a clean bandage.
- If you haven't had a tetanus shot in the last 10 years, you should get one, preferably within 48 hours.
- If the bite creates a deep puncture, or if the skin is badly torn and bleeding, apply pressure and get immediate medical attention.
- If you have a fever or you see signs of infection (swelling, redness, pain, bad smell or fluid draining from the area), see a doctor right away.
- If you get bitten by an animal that is acting strangely - a classic sign of rabies - see a doctor immediately. – (Health24, November 2003)
- Last updated: June 2010