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How to prevent and treat animal bites

Summertime in Wisconsin and around the nation brings increased time outdoors for families and their pets. This interaction leads to more opportunities for animal bites. As statistics show that around 4.7 million dog bites occur in the country annually, emergency medical personnel offer suggestions on how to prevent and treat such injuries.

If someone is bitten by a dog, the first course of action should be to clean the wound thoroughly. Family members can initially wash the area around the bite and stop any bleeding before seeking medical attention. The risk of infection following a bite increases, so cleaning is vital. Individuals should seek immediate medical attention if a bite is deep or bleeding won't stop. It is also important to know if a dog has had the rabies vaccine.

In most cases, victims know the dogs that bit them, according to health educators. Children may provoke a dog simply by reaching for it. Experts stress that no one should approach an unfamiliar dog. Always ask the person accompanying the dog if someone can touch it. Small children should be reminded to remain calm and move slowly around dogs so that sudden movements or sounds won't disturb them.

If a dog approaches someone, the best thing to do is nothing. In other words, remain completely still. A dog will naturally chase someone, so it is wise not to run away. Should a dog attack a person, it is best to cover one's neck and ears and curl up on the ground.

Animal bites can lead to serious injuries and trauma. If someone has been bitten by a dog or other animal, he or she may wish to pursue personal injury litigation. A Wisconsin attorney can help a client evaluate a case and recommend the best next steps. Since Wisconsin is a strict liability state, a dog owner is responsible for the actions of their pet, even though the animal may have never attacked anyone before.

Source:, "The Medical Minute: Preventing and Treating Dog Bites", Aug. 12, 2017

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