While most dogs are friendly and excellent companions, any animal can behave unpredictably. Unfortunately, because of their sharp teeth, dogs can inflict serious injuries quickly. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bites every single year.
Even if your bite wounds seem minor, it is important to receive professional medical care for them. After all, if you acquire an infection, your life may be in danger.
Why do infections happen?
Human skin is an effective barrier against bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that can make a person sick. If the skin breaks, though, these organisms can work their way into soft tissues or even into the bloodstream. Infections can happen from germs inside the dog’s mouth or organisms on your skin.
What are the symptoms of an infected dog bite?
When you seek medical treatment for a dog bite, your doctor should take steps to minimize your infection risk, like cleaning the wound. He or she also should tell you about the symptoms of an infection.
If you have one or more of the following, you should return to the doctor for additional care:
- Swelling, blisters or redness around the bite wound
- Fluid discharge from the wound
- Fevers, chills or sweats
- Muscle or joint pain
- Confusion or disorientation
How do doctors treat infections?
Infected dog bites can be deadly, as they can lead to sepsis and septic shock. To minimize your risk, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic. If you have a serious infection, though, you may need hospitalization. This is especially true if your infection is resistant to conventional antibiotics.
Ultimately, if you suffer additional injuries because of a bite-related infection, you may have grounds to pursue substantial financial compensation.