Many people know that if they are bitten by a dog that they could suffer from cuts, bruising and even puncture wounds. They may not be aware, however, that dog bites can cause serious infections as well.
A dog’s teeth can tear the victim’s skin, which can leave him or her with an open wound. If the wound becomes infected, it can require hospitalization, intravenous antibiotics and shots. People who are immunocompromised, have diabetes or liver disease may be at even greater risk for a severe infection.
Dog bites can also leave scars on the victim’s body, including facial and hand scarring that can permanently affect his or her appearance.
There are several steps a dog bite victim can take immediately to treat the wound. These include washing the affected area with mild soap and warm water, using a clean compress to slow the bleeding, wrapping the wound with a sterile bandage and applying an over-the-counter antibiotic cream.
Bacteria from bites can raise a person’s risk of infection. Dog bite victims should look for signs of infection like redness, swelling, pain and fever. Some dog bite victims require a tetanus shot or a booster shot and stiches if the wound is deep. In some situations, plastic surgery may also be required to reconstruct areas of the body with significant damage.
Whenever possible, it is helpful for the victim to obtain information about the dog’s history. If a dog is unvaccinated or feral, it may carry and transfer rabies which may require a series of vaccines.
Dog bite victims can face unexpected, large medical bills and may require time away from work to heal. This can impact their ability to provide for themselves and their family members. An experienced attorney can pursue compensation on their behalf.