If you or someone you know has suffered a dog bite, there are important things you can do to treat the injury and prevent infection. The first step is to clean the wound as soon as possible after the attack.
Wash the injured area carefully with mild soap and water for five to 10 minutes. Then, use a clean cloth to stop the bleeding and wrap the wound in a sterile bandage. Watch for signs of infection such as fever, swelling or redness.
After administering this initial first aid, be sure to see a doctor right away. Dog bites can cause rabies and other serious infections that may require antibiotics, especially if you were bitten by an unfamiliar dog who did not have the proper vaccinations. You should always go to the hospital after a dog attack, even if your injuries seem minor or treatable at home.
A doctor will identify any complications and determine whether further medical treatment is needed. Deep wounds can result in extensive damage to muscles, nerves and tendons. In severe dog bite cases, especially those that involve scarring or disfigurement, the victim may need injections, skin grafts, dermabrasion or plastic surgery.
Treating dog bite injuries can be expensive, potentially costing thousands of dollars in hospital bills. Along with ensuring you receive the treatment you need, seeing a doctor will also be helpful if you decide to file a dog bite claim later. Your medical records will show the extent of your injuries.