Dog bite infections can be problematic. This is because canines’ mouths can harbor various bacteria that may lead to infections when introduced into the human body through a bite wound. It is critical and sometimes life-saving for the victim to know what can happen and the necessary treatment protocol. If you’ve suffered an injury by a dog due to a negligent owner, contact a Washington, D.C., accident lawyer for help in getting compensation.
Types of Infections
- Bacterial infections: Dogs can cause different types of bacterial infections that often lead to life-threatening circumstances. Dog mouths contain a variety of bacteria, including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Pasteurella. When a dog bite breaks the skin, these bacteria can enter the wound and lead to infection.
- Cellulitis: Cellulitis is a common complication of dog bites. It is a bacterial skin infection that causes redness, swelling, warmth, and pain at the bite site.
- Abscess formation: Sometimes, an infection may may cause an abscess, which is a collection of pus. Abscesses can be painful and may require drainage.
- Tetanus: Although rare, a dog bite can introduce the tetanus bacteria into the body. Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection that affects the nervous system and can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of Infection Following a Dog Bite
If a dog has bitten you, it’s crucial to monitor the bite wound for any signs of infection, which may include:
- Redness and swelling: The bite area may become increasingly red, swollen, and warm to the touch.
- Pain: The wound may become increasingly painful or tender.
- Pus or discharge: The wound may produce pus or other abnormal discharge.
- Fever and chills: Systemic symptoms like fever and chills can be signs of an infection that has spread beyond the wound.
- Difficulty moving or using the affected area: An infection can cause limited mobility or functional impairment in the affected limb in severe cases.
Preventing infections after a dog bite is crucial. Here are steps to take immediately after a bite to reduce the risk of infection:
- Clean the Wound: Wash the bite wound thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least five minutes. This helps remove bacteria from the wound.
- Apply antiseptic: After cleaning, apply an antiseptic solution to the wound to further reduce the risk of infection.
- Control bleeding: If the bite causes bleeding, use a clean cloth or sterile bandage to apply gentle pressure to the wound until the bleeding stops.
- Cover the Wound: Cover the clean wound with a sterile dressing or bandage to keep it clean.
- Seek medical care: Even if your wound appears to be minor, you want to consult a physician. They can examine the injury, prescribe antibiotics if necessary, and administer a tetanus shot if required.
Seeing Medical Treatment Following an Injury Caused by a Dog
In some cases, medical treatment is essential to manage infections resulting from dog bites:
- Antibiotics: Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to prevent or treat infections, especially if the bite wound is deep, puncture-like, or shows signs of infection.
- Tetanus shot: If your tetanus vaccination is not up-to-date, you may receive a tetanus shot to prevent tetanus infection.
- Wound care: Doctors may clean and possibly debride the wound to remove damaged tissue. They may also recommend follow-up wound care.
- Surgical intervention: In severe cases with abscess formation or significant tissue damage, surgical intervention may be necessary to drain the abscess or repair the wound.
A Washington, D.C. Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
A dog attack in Washington, D.C. can cause serious injury to you or someone close to you. Knowing your legal rights and options is essential. At Roeser Law Firm, our experienced attorneys can review your case and help you recover compensation. You can schedule a free consultation by calling (202) 660-4070. Help can also be accessed online.