Millions of Americans suffer dog bites every year. While the majority of these incidents do not result in serious injuries, some victims end up needing specialized medical attention.
If you are a victim of a dog bite, it is advisable not to shrug off your injuries, no matter how small. There is a real possibility of developing an infection even from a tiny wound, and the results could be disastrous.
Why do infections occur?
When a dog bites you, bacteria in its saliva may enter the wound. If left untreated, the bacteria could multiply, leading to an infection. Some of the bacteria you may be predisposed to after a dog bite include tetanus, a condition that affects the nerves and is incurable. Untreated wounds may also lead to sepsis which can be fatal.
Signs of infection after a dog bite
Symptoms of infection may manifest three to five days after the dog bite. They include:
- A rise in temperature or loss of sensation around the bite
- Pus or fluid coming from the wound
- Night chills
- Fever or sweating
- Muscle weakness or tremors
- Swollen lymph nodes, among others
If you notice any of the above signs after suffering a dog bite, you need to treat it like a medical emergency and seek treatment immediately. Cleaning the wound may help prevent infection but only to some extent. You may need to get antibiotics, too, just in case there are bacteria in your wounds.
Holding the dog owner accountable
Treating a dog bite can result in substantial medical bills, especially when you develop an infection. Therefore, you need to hold the negligent dog owner liable and have them shoulder the burden of the damages you suffered from their negligence, from hospital bills to any lost wages if your wounds affected your ability to go to work.