Unlike the in winter seasons, everyone warms up to the chilly autumn and warm springs. Many of us want to maximize their outdoor experience before the cold season sets in and hence the hype for hikes and walking trails. It is common to find some hunting the major parks with their dogs hence increasing the risk of bites to the public. While dogs remain the best friends to human beings, they are animals that can bite. In America, dog bites stand at 4.5 million annually with half of the victims being children aged between 5-9 years. Unlike adults, children are likely to succumb to these injuries and hence the reason 20% of the bites requires medical attention.
It is hard to predict the possibility of a dog bite; it is even harder to know when a dog is about to bite. Some dogs will only bark after the bite, while some might show some aggression before the occurrence. Nevertheless, the speed at which they execute remains a mystery to most victims, and some take a few minutes before they know what to do. When it happens far from the hospital, you need a trained first aider to take care of the injuries and hence control bleeding. Basic first aid training and certification is vital for people wishing to provide first aid in such instances.
Like most injuries and animal bites, you can treat the wound at home to prevent possible infection, which complicates the situation. The severity of the bites ranges from one dog to the other and the force with which the animal approached the victim. Nonetheless, one needs to learn first aid to handle the wound without exposing the victim to more injuries. It starts with an assessment to the wound the steps you take will depend whether the impact results in:
First Aid for Minor Wounds
In this case, you are not likely to observe a major break on the skin as it involves a slight scratch on the surface, often from a dog that is immunized for rabies. Nonetheless, you still need first aid to support the healing process. Trained or not, you need to do the following:
- Clean the injury with warm, soapy water or perhaps disinfect with antibacterial cleansing agents as soon as the bite occurs. It might call for you to visit the nearest pharmacy to get the disinfectants.
- Smear the antibiotic cream on the surface of the injured part to prevent kill bacteria that could come from the animal’s saliva.
- After the treatment, a clean bandage comes in handy towards covering the wound to prevent microbial attacks on the raw wound. It keeps dirt out and prevents the delicate wound from further injuries that could lengthen the healing process.
- Monitor the injury for possible infections that manifests in pus, pain, red fluid oozing out of the wound and unpleasant odor. In the event of a bite on a joint, fingers, hand and feet, consider immediate medical attention to get the right prescription.
First Aid for Severe Wounds
They include all bites and scratches that result in torn skin, deep wounds and excess bleeding. Most of these wounds result from bites that involve the front teeth that grasp the skin and cause damage. With some children almost at the same height with the dogs, most bites occur on the neck, lips, cheeks, nose and facial areas. On the contrary, most bites in adults happen to the hands, legs and arms. In the event of a severe injury, consider the following:
- Control bleeding by applying firm pressure using a sterile dry cloth.
- Elevate the injured organ and stop any movements to control bleeding.
- Visit the nearest medical center for qualified medical care.
While doctors recommend a tetanus injection every ten years, a severe wound is likely to alter the protocol. In case your wound is dirty, and the current shot exceeds five years since injection, the physician may recommend a booster soon after the injury. Bites from unknown dogs increase the risk of rabies and hence the need for medical attention regardless of the severity. If the skin continues to swell after treatment, or observe pus and redness in the area, contact your doctor for further treatment.
With an enormous prevalence of dog bites in the US, there needs a change of tactic to prevent the occurrences. Avast, majority of these can be avoided through simple measures that include:
Get a dog with the right temperament. Some dog breeds are known to have bad moods and hence likely to bite on slight provocation.
- Avoid confronting unfamiliar dogs.
- Limit the time your kids spend with dogs and avoid leaving them with dogs that you do not know.
- Avoid facing dogs when they are handling their puppies.
- Always let the dogs approach you
Whenever you meet an aggressive dog, avoid eye contact, screaming and running away.