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How can you treat an animal bite?

Getting bitten by an animal is not something you'd choose to have happen, but sometimes you don't get the chance to back away or avoid an attack. While you should always seek medical treatment, there are also some things you can do to help care for wounds when they happen. After treatment, you may need to show the state of your injuries to help your attorney build your case as you seek compensation.

If you've suffered minor bites, you can treat it as a minor wound and wash it out with soap and water. If you're not sure about the risk of rabies or other diseases, you should go to the hospital. You should speak with emergency services regardless of the depth of the wound to report the attack, too. In a shallow wound, you can also apply antibiotic creams and cover it with a bandage.

For more serious wounds, it's important to get stitches. The medical team at the hospital may have to clean out the wound, because bones can be crushed and muscles and tissues can be torn if a dog bites you. If you have to wait to get care, make sure you apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth. Then, seek emergency care as quickly as possible.

If rabies are suspected in your case, it's important to see a doctor right away. Rabies is untreatable after the symptoms appear, and it has nearly a 100 percent fatality rate if left untreated, so you must start a treatment to prevent it immediately following a bite from an animal that has an unknown immunization status.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Animal bites: First aid," accessed Oct. 20, 2015

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