Animal bite - first aid - series
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Procedure, part 1
To treat a minor bite, first wash your hands thoroughly with soap to avoid infection. Wash hands afterwards as well. If the bite is not bleeding severely, wash the wound thoroughly with mild soap and running water for 3 to 5 minutes. Then cover the bite with antibiotic ointment and a clean dressing.
Procedure, part 2
If the bite is actively bleeding, apply direct pressure with a clean, dry cloth until the bleeding subsides. Elevate the area of the bite. If the bite is on the hand or fingers, call the doctor right away. Over the next 24 to 48 hours, observe the bite for signs of infection (increasing skin redness, swelling, and pain). If the bite becomes infected, call the doctor or take the person to an emergency facility.
- Last reviewed on 1/8/2012
- Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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