Preventing Dog Bite Infections

October 16, 2018
by We can Help Law

What You Need to know about Infection from a Dog Bite in New Jersey

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Infection from Dog Bites

Over 36% of United States households have at least one dog and many have two or more. While the majority of individuals and families never have to deal with the consequences of an aggressive dog, there are certain circumstances in which dogs cause serious injuries. In New Jersey, dogs are responsible for many of the animal bites that occur. Typically, a dog bite results in physical injury. However, in some circumstances, an infection may occur as a result of a dog bite.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, infection occurs in about 10 to 15 percent of dog bites.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children are at the highest risk of any age group for dog bites. Children’s injuries from dog bites also tend to be more severe than injuries from dog bites inflicted on adults. The following explains the top things you should know about dog bite infections, how they occur, and what you can do to prevent them. If you or a loved one has suffered an infection after being bitten by a dog, it is important to understand your rights and the legal avenues that may be available to you. To discuss your potential dog bite claim with an experienced attorney, contact our New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyers today for a free consultation. You can reach us anytime at (732) 303-7857 or reach out online to begin a conversation and find the legal guidance you need.

How do Dog Bite Infections Happen?

Infections from dog bites are caused by bacteria in the animal’s mouth when the bite occurs. The bacteria will enter the skin through the puncture wound. According to some professionals, bites that occur on the hands may be more likely to become infected.

Once the bacteria from a dog bite enters the body, the body will begin to react. Swelling and redness may occur.  Severe infections that are left untreated can lead to hospitalization and even death in rare circumstances.  It is therefore important to seek medical treatment if you or someone you know believes they have suffered an infection as a result of a dog bite.  Some symptoms of an infection as a result of a dog bite include: tenderness near the bite, loss of sensation near the bite, limited use of the body part, fluid oozing from the wound, red streaks or skin discoloration near the bite, fever, sickness, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, changes in body temperature and other general signs of illness or infection.

Common Infections from Dog Bites

Your risk of contracting a disease called rabies is a major concern following a dog bite. An animal infected by rabies can spread the disease through its saliva when it bites you. Rabies affects your brain, and, if you start showing symptoms, the disease is almost always fatal. Thankfully, contracting rabies after a bite is relatively rare in the United States, but given the seriousness of the disease, you should take all reasonable precautions to ensure that you are safe from the disease after a bite incident. If you have been bitten by a dog, you should likely ask your doctor if you are at risk of developing rabies.

Another potential complication arising from a dog bite is tetanus. Tetanus, sometimes called lockjaw, is a serious disease that can develop if a bacterial toxin enters your body through a wound like a dog bite. Tetanus can result in muscle spasms that making swallowing and even breathing difficult. The disease can be fatal in some instances. People generally receive a tetanus vaccination and booster shots every ten years. If you are not up to date on your tetanus shots, you should immediately contact your health care professional after a dog bite and ask their advice on how to prevent complications like tetanus.

In some instances, dog bites can result in additional rare conditions like strep or staph infections or a capnocytophaga infection. These bacterial infections can result in fever, flue-like symptoms and rashes, among other symptoms. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics and other antibacterial treatment if you are diagnosed with any of these infections following a dog bite.

Preventing Dog Bite Infection

If you have been bitten by or otherwise injured by a dog, and you have since reached safety, you can take a number of steps to prevent the injury from worsening or becoming infected. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that, for minor wounds, you use soap and water to thoroughly wash your wound. You can also apply an antibiotic cream. You should apply a clean bandage to the wound and consider seeking medical attention from a trained physician. If the wound becomes swollen, painful, warm, or red, or if you develop a fever, you should contact your doctor or other healthcare provider. If stitches or immediate medical treatment is needed, seek that treatment right away.

If you suffer a deep bite or wound, the CDC recommends that you apply pleasure with a dry, clean cloth to stem blood loss. You should also call 911 or get to the emergency room as soon as possible. You should also seek medication attention immediately if you are in extreme pain, you have exposed bone or muscle after the bite, you lose function in a limb after a bite, or if it has been five years or more since your last tetanus shot.

Consult an Attorney about Your Dog Bite Infection Case in NJ

If you or someone you love would like to speak with one of our lawyers about a dog bite and any legal issue surrounding an infection that resulted from a dog bite, call the New Jersey Dog Bite Attorneys at our firm today.  Our lawyers offer a free consultation and have extensive experience with dog bite injury matters.