ASSESSING THE SEVERITY OF THE BITE
• Once you’re safely away from the animal,
wash the wound gently with soap and water.
• Use a clean towel to apply pressure to the wound,
then apply a clean bandage.
• If the bite is on your hand or arm, elevate it above your
heart to prevent infection and swelling.
• After 15 minutes of consistent pressure, check the
wound. If it is still bleeding, seek medical attention.
• If the animal that bit you appears to be wild or you’re
unsure of its vaccination status, see a doctor as soon
• People with conditions that weaken their immune
systems should receive medical attention as soon
• Swelling, fever, redness and pus are all signs of
possible infection. See your doctor right away if
you notice any of these symptoms after
• Always treat animal bites as soon as you are able
• If the puncture wounds are deep or if there is tearing
of the skin, you may need to seek emergency care.
• All wounds should be cleaned immediately with soap
• Apply an antibiotic cream to the site before bandaging.
• If the site appears to be infected, your doctor might
• It’s possible you will need to receive a tetanus
booster shot if your last vaccination was more
than five years ago.
• If the animal appears to be wild or a stray, contact
• If the animal can be found, it will be tested for rabies.
• Depending on the results of the test or if
the animal cannot be found, your doctor might
recommend you receive rabies shots.
• If a domesticated animal has bitten you, you should
take down as much information as you can about the
owner. You may want to consider taking legal action
if your injuries require extensive medical attention.
TO AN ANIMAL BITE
Below are tips for actions to take if you are bitten by an animal.