What to Do When a Dog Bites

A South Carolina family is sadly acquainted with the dangers that dogs can pose to children. Chantel and Quintin McGrew’s infant was mauled by one of their dogs a few years ago, and another of their children was recently bitten on the face by a different family dog.

In the United States, dogs reportedly bite more than four million people annually. Like the McGrew’s experiences, the majority of dog bites are from family or neighbors’ dogs.

The primary dangers from a dog bite are infection, internal damage and scarring.

  • Infection. A variety of bacteria live in the mouths of dogs, and dog bites can introduce bacterial infection deep into the tissue below the skin. Initial and follow-up treatments after a bite will likely focus on the prevention and elimination of possible infection.
  • Internal damage: A dog bite can cause internal damage such as injury to tendons, muscles, nerves or bones.
  • Scarring: Dogs often bite a visible part of the body such as the hands or face, so the external wound can cause unseemly scarring.

If a dog bites you or someone you know, take the following steps:

  • Stop the bleeding with a clean towel
  • Elevate the injured area as best as you can
  • Wash the bite with soap and water
  • Put a clean bandage on the injury
  • Use antibiotic cream on the wound each day unless the doctor instructs otherwise

A visit to the doctor is essential and should occur as soon as possible. After examining the wound and learning more about the circumstances of the bite and the victim’s medical history, the doctor will determine whether any muscle, bone, nerves or tendons were injured, and will be able to make an informed decision about whether to use antibiotics and how to reduce visible scarring.

If you are the victim of the dog bite, call us for a case evaluation. Dog bite victims may be able to receive compensation for their injuries.

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