Animal bites of the hand are more likely to become infected than other parts of the body. Spot an infection – which can result in surgeries, amputations or even death – by watching for these signs:
- Increased redness and pain around the bite
- Difficulty moving the body part
- Development of an abscess (a bump full of puss or debris)
- Red streaks going up the arm
- Enlarged lymphnodes
Reduce your risk of infection by visiting a doctor immediately after an animal bite, regardless of whether you are experiencing any problematic symptoms. Dog and cat bites are the most common animal bites. Learning how to prevent and treat these injuries is important. Here are some tips:
Preventing dog bites
- Never use your hands to break up a dog fight. Instead, use a loud noise to get the dogs’ attention.
- Where a protective glove when administering medicine to a dog.
- Before petting an unfamiliar dog, let he/she sniff your hand first.
Preventing cat bites
- Do not approach a cat if he/she is eating or if it is a mother with her litter.
- Use caution when approaching an unfamiliar cat.
If bitten by a dog or cat, wash the bite with soap and water and then seek medical treatment. Cat bites are more likely to lead to infection. Learn more about animal bites at www.handcare.org.