If you were bitten by a wild animal, you may require medical attention. Wild animal bites don't often cause severe blood loss, but they can easily lead to infection. Animals can harbor bacteria and viruses in their mouths that can be transmitted underneath your skin when they bite you. If you've recently been bitten by a wild animal outside, read on to learn when you should visit a medical clinic for treatment.
You Aren't Current on Your Tetanus Vaccination
Tetanus is caused by bacteria that's commonly found in the soil. Since wild animals spend their time outdoors, they may be carrying these bacteria on their teeth, and they can get into your bloodstream when they bite you. Tetanus can cause fatal paralysis if it's not treated. If you aren't up to date on your tetanus vaccinations or have never been vaccinated against tetanus, go to a medical clinic as soon as possible. You need to receive the vaccine shortly after being bitten in order to prevent tetanus.
The Wild Animal Was Aggressive or Behaving Strangely
If you're bitten by a rabid animal, you may become infected with rabies. Rabies typically causes animals to become very aggressive, which makes them more likely to bite you. Most wild animals are naturally scared of humans and will run away if you approach them, but rabies can make them bite you instead of running away. If the wild animal who bit you was acting overly aggressive, you should visit a medical clinic so that you can be vaccinated against rabies. Like with tetanus, you'll need to receive the vaccine shortly after you were bitten in order to prevent becoming infected.
The Animal Bite Is Showing Signs of Infection
Aside from tetanus, animals can carry numerous other bacteria in their mouths that can cause a severe infection. If your bite is oozing pus or looks swollen and inflamed, you need to visit a medical clinic to have the bite treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics will help your body fight the infection and stop it from spreading.
You Have Diabetes
Animal bites commonly occur on the hands and arms. People with diabetes have poor circulation in those areas, which slows down wound healing. It also makes it more difficult for your immune system to destroy bacteria, which increases your risk of infection. If you have diabetes, you should visit a medical clinic so the bite can be properly treated with antibiotics.
Overall, the main risk of a wild animal bite is infection, and antibiotics will help prevent it. Tetanus and rabies are also concerns, and you'll need to be vaccinated if you aren't current on your tetanus shots or if you think that the animal who bit you may have been infected with rabies. If you don't have diabetes, you're current on your tetanus shots, and don't think rabies is a risk, wash the animal bite thoroughly with soap and water and keep an eye on it for signs of infection. If you think that the bite is becoming infected, visit a medical clinic so that it can be treated with antibiotics.