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How to care for a dog bite wound

Hopefully, the dogs living in your neighborhood are friendly and kept on a leash. But even if that’s the case, all dogs can become dangerous in certain situations.

To stay on the safe side, make sure you are ready to practices these important steps in case you or your child get bitten by a neighborhood dog.

Call authorities

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 4.7 million Americans are bitten by a dog each year — with one out of five of these bites resulting in a serious injury. 

If you are injured by a dog, it’s important to contact the authorities immediately. A police report will document the events of the incident and help ensure that there are repercussions for the animal’s actions if the animal was unprovoked. Reporting a dog bite may help prevent another incident from happening in your community.

Immediate care for wounds

To care for a dog bite wound immediately, follow these steps:

  1. Wrap or otherwise apply pressure to the wound using a clean towel or cloth until bleeding stops
  2. If you are unable to stop the bleeding, the bite is deep or there are signs of infection, alert the authorities that you need medical attention immediately
  3. If bleeding stops or you are bruised, elevate the injury
  4. Rinse the wound under cool running water for at least 5 minutes
  5. Clean using mild soap — Using hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to clean a wound can damage tissue and delay recovery
  6. Apply antibiotic cream or ointment
  7. Use clean gauze or another bandage to cover the wound

Seek medical attention

It’s important to seek medical attention even if you have followed care instructions and believe the wound is minor. A healthcare provider can document the injury and prescribe any necessary treatment.

Even dogs who do not have rabies may still spread bacteria that results in infection or disease.

Explore legal ramifications

Some dog bite injuries can result in painful injuries that require extended treatment. Parents may also need to miss work in order to care for a wounded child. A personal injury attorney can help you seek damages to cover these expenses as well as other legal ramifications that can help prevent the owners from enabling the animal to attack again.

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