Sometime in early 2015, I was bitten by a dog. It was my first (and hopefully my last, lol) dog bite. Thankfully, I knew what to do immediately after a dog bite and that made ALL the difference! The link to that story is here.
Today is World Rabies Day and I thought it apt to share 5 steps to take if you, yours or anyone you know find themselves in a similar situation.
5 STEPS TO TAKE AFTER A DOG BITE
1. BE CALM
To be bitten by a dog is a scary experience. The steps taken immediately are so critical to overall recovery that you need to be calm and access the situation. If necessary, call for help and get yourself away from the dog as soon as possible.
2. WASH THE BITE WITH RUNNING WATER AND SOAP
This is to immediately reduce the possibility of contamination of the wound with bacteria from the dog’s mouth. Wash extensively for about 15 minutes.
3. GO TO THE HOSPITAL
It’s always a good idea to visit the hospital, no matter how insignificant you feel the wound is. You will most likely be prescribed some antibiotics to prevent any bacterial infection.
4. GET ANTI-TETANUS VACCINATION
Depending on the bite site, you might need to get an Anti-Tetanus Vaccination. The physician will prescribe one if he feels you need it or you haven’t ever had any Anti-tetanus vaccination (which I think is the case for most Nigerians-God have mercy!)
5. START POST-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS
If you aren’t sure of the vaccination status of the dog that attacked you; if you suspect that the dog that attacked you was RABID (behavioural alterations); or if the attack was unprovoked (e.g an unknown dog ran out of it’s compound and bit you). Then, it is best you get POST-EXPOSURE PROHYLAXIS (PEP) as soon as possible.
PEP is the treatment of a person after a bite by a suspected rabid mammal. It involves the washing of the bite (mentioned above). It also involves the affected person getting a type of anti-rabies vaccine that is administered immediately after a dog bite. This is to prevent the development of Rabies symptoms in humans.
Also, in some cases, PEP can include a medicine called Rabies Immunoglobulin (RIG)- if the chances of infection is considerably high.
Hopefully, these tips will help anyone that finds themselves in such a precarious situation in the future. Did you find this post useful? Let me know in the comments section below.