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How to Prevent Infection After a Dog Bite

How to Prevent Infection After a Dog Bite

One in five people who are bitten by a dog need medical attention. While dogs are usually friendly towards humans, any one of them can bite if provoked or feeling threatened. 

Protect yourself from dog bites by staying away from dogs you don’t know. 

When you choose a breed for your family, make sure its temperament is appropriate for its role – a guard dog doesn’t always make the best cuddly family pet. And never leave children alone to play with a dog, especially if you don’t know the canine.

If a dog bite occurs

If you or a loved one does experience a dog bite, don’t panic. For a serious wound, seek emergency care. You should definitely seek medical care if you were bitten by an unfamiliar dog. A doctor’s help is also important if the bite is deep or you can’t stop the bleeding.

Our renowned plastic surgeon Elliott H. Rose, MD, of The Aesthetic Surgery Center in New York performs cosmetic facial surgery to minimize the appearance of scarring and reconstruct any areas disfigured by the bite.

You can care for more mild cases at home and prevent infection with the following steps.

Steps to prevent infection

When a dog bite seems minor enough to care for at home, your first task is to stop any bleeding. To do this, place a clean towel over the wound and apply gentle pressure. At the same time, try to keep the injured area elevated.

Once the bleeding has stopped, use soap and water to gently wash the area. Bandage the wound with a sterile bandage and apply antibiotic ointment daily to discourage infection.

Signs of infection

Despite your efforts, a dog bite may become infected. Suspect infection if it starts to ooze pus, the affected area swells and looks reddened, or if the wound feels warm to the touch. If you think you have an infection, seek a doctor’s care right away so they can provide you with antibiotics. 

For patients with diabetes, liver disease, or other health conditions that suppress the immune system, the risk of developing an infection is much greater. 

Avoid dog bites altogether

Be smart when interacting with dogs to avoid a dog bite. Avoid petting a dog that is not with its owner or when the owner does not give permission for you to pet the dog. Never reach through or over a fence to pet a dog.

Be wary when a dog is playing with a toy or is growling or barking. Female dogs who have just given birth may be very protective of the puppies; it’s best to let her be if she seems anxious in your presence. A dog that is sick or injured or seems to be hiding should also be left alone. 

If you did suffer a dog bite and it left disfigurement or a scar, know that Dr. Rose is ready to help. He is experienced and skilled at repairing areas that commonly receive bites – like the ears, nose, and face. Call The Aesthetic Surgery Center today if you need his services, or use the online tool to schedule your consultation.

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