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The Dangers of Dog Bites, and How to Seek Treatment
Dogs can be man’s best friend – but they can also be a threat in the wrong situation.
Everyone loves their dogs, and for the most part, other dogs are friendly, too. But sometimes, we come across canines that, for whatever reason, have it in for us.
The result is often a painful and dangerous bite that can send you to the emergency room.
Facts About Dog Bites
Did you know that dog bites make up over 90% of all animal bites? Think of all the animals that can bite you, from cats to snakes and wildlife, and dogs are responsible for the vast majority of bites on humans.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that there are over 4.5 million dog bites each year, and roughly 20% of them result in emergency room visits.
Men are bitten more often than women, and children aged 5 to 9 are bitten the most often when it comes to age groups. They also typically need medical treatment more often.
There are two main dangers when it comes to dog bites. The first is the wound itself. Dog bites can puncture skin and tear through soft tissue, which may require stitches or even surgery.
The second is the risk of infection. Dog bites can cause tetanus and rabies, both of which require painful treatment and can be life-threatening. There are other types of infection that can set in.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
The first thing to do is to get to safety, which means getting away from the dog that bit you.
Then, you need to seek medical treatment, however, you may have to first address the wound itself.
If you’re bleeding slightly, clean the wound and apply a bandage. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see a doctor.
If you’re bleeding moderately or more seriously, place direct pressure on the wound and keep the body part elevated if at all possible.
No matter if it’s serious or mild, you should go to a hospital. For more serious injuries, you need to go to the emergency room, where they can give you immediate attention. In either case, if there are puncture wounds, bleeding, tears, or lacerations, you need to see a doctor to get tested for tetanus, rabies, or other afflictions, since dog bites can easily cause infections.
If you don’t have any skin damage or you just have a mild bruise, you may not have to go to the doctor. Just watch for signs of infection, such as swelling, redness, pain, and fluid drainage.
Should You Call a Lawyer?
You shouldn’t call a personal injury attorney if the dog bite isn’t serious. Only call a lawyer if you have to seek medical treatment for a serious dog bite injury.
Serious injuries may result in missed work, lost wages, medical bills, and physical/emotional suffering. If any of this is true, a lawyer can help you get compensated for your injury and your suffering.
Make sure to document as much as you can – the time and place of the bite, the owner of the dog and person who was responsible, the severity of the injury, any medical treatment you have received, and the impact the injury has had on your life.
If you need help, talk to a personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process.