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What do you need to know about animal bite infections?

Imagine being attacked by a pet or a stray animal; even though the injury didn't seem like much, suddenly you're finding yourself ill and in a lot of pain. One of the reasons this might be happening is because of an internal infection from the animal's saliva and bacteria or viruses it carried.

When do animal bites begin to get infected?

Animal bites can result in infections that affect you well after the bites have begun to heal. Sometimes, even minor puncture wounds or scratches can become badly infected. Some kinds of infections can be fatal if left untreated.

How can you tell if an infection is starting to form?

Usually, you can tell when an infection is beginning because of swelling, tenderness, redness and pain. You may find that you feel generally unwell or that you notice draining or pus in the wound. In most cases, the infection will clear on its own within a few days, but others continue and can become dangerous.

How many people suffer from infections when bitten on the hands?

It's been reported that as many as 40 percent of bites to the hand will become infected. Why? The tendons, ligaments and bones are complex in the hands, making it easier for bacteria to be trapped inside the body.

How are wounds cleaned after a dog bite?

Deep infections may need to be treated with antibiotics, surgeries or other cleaning procedures. For people who already struggle with immunodeficiencies, the addition of this strain on the body can result in issues like abscesses, sepsis or endocarditis.

It may be necessary to seek legal redress in order to be compensated for your medical bills and other associated costs.

Source: MedScape, "Animal Bite-associated Infections," Nicole Thomas; Itzhak Brook, accessed April 13, 2016

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