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Tips for cleaning dog bites to prevent infection

If you are bitten by a dog, you want to take steps immediately to clean the wound so that it will not get infected. Infections can lead to serious complications and make the injury far worse. Taking action quickly can often -- but not always -- prevent them.

First, using a clean towel, press down on the wound to get it to stop bleeding. A little bleeding is fine and can actually help clean the bite, but too much is very dangerous. It helps to elevate the area, if possible. For instance, if the bite was to your calf, try sitting with your foot up on a chair.

Next, use soap and water to clean the bite. It may hurt, but you need to wash out any bacteria inside the bite, along with anything else that may have gotten under your skin. When you get it washed, dry it off as well as you can. It helps to let it air dry for a while if you can. Then take a sterile bandage and put it over the bite.

Change that bandage every day. When you do -- and before the first application -- put on antibiotic ointment. This helps it heal and prevents infection. Some ointments also help to prevent scarring.

Finally, go to a doctor. Have him or her check out the wound and look for any early signs of infection. If you notice any changes that worry you, return to the doctor for a follow-up treatment.

As you work through the healing process, make sure you fully understand your potential rights to compensation.

Source: WebMD, "Dog Bites," accessed May 31, 2018

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