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LDS Preparedness 101: Tips for Handling a Dog Bite

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Tips for Handling a Dog Bite
What You Should Do if You Experience a Dog Bite
Don’t think you and your family are safe from dog bites just because you don’t have a dog of your own. Even people without pets can experience a dog bite. Knowing what to do if you or a family member experiences a dog bite can be vital to successful recovery from the bite. You should know how to properly respond to a dog bite, and the following tips will help you do just that.

Proceed With Caution
If the dog bite is relatively minor, you should be able to wash it out with soap and warm water for about five minutes. You could go to the emergency room if it would make you feel more comfortable, but it might not be necessary if the bite is relatively shallow. If you know the person who owns the dog that bit you or your family member, ask them for proof of a recent rabies vaccination. If proof is not provided or if the dog has not been vaccinated for rabies, immediately seek the advice of a physician. Although rabies isn’t as common as it used to be, it is not completely eradicated.
Even if the dog has been vaccinated for rabies, if the dog bite is deep or bleeding heavily, you should definitely seek emergency medical attention. On the way to the emergency room, apply pressure to the wounds to slow the bleeding down.
It’s very important to report any dog bite to your doctor. Even if you determine that you do not need to go to the doctor or emergency room, you should still inform your doctor of any dog bite that you or your family member experiences. This way your doctor will know what’s going on if complications should arise in the days that follow.
Tetanus Too
In addition to making sure the dog has a rabies vaccination, you will also need to make sure your tetanus shot is current. If you haven’t had a tetanus shot in the last ten years, you will definitely need to get one as soon as possible. If your doctor’s office is closed, you should go to the emergency room and they can administer a tetanus shot there. If you know that you had a tetanus recently but decide not to see your doctor or go to the emergency room, check with your doctor anyway. He or she might still recommend a tetanus booster even if the duration since your last tetanus shot is shorter than ten years.
Knowing how to treat and respond to a dog bite is important, and the above tips can ease your comfort during an otherwise uncomfortable time.
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Posted by Ryan Edgerton on November 6, 2006 2:01 AM | Permalink

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