Dogs may be popular pets in Washington, but their bites can lead to devastating consequences. Not only can a dog bite cause severe pain and permanent scarring, but the dog’s saliva may contain harmful bacteria that can pass into your bloodstream.
There are many serious and potentially life-threatening infections that can happen after being bitten by a dog, including rabies, pasteurellosis, and capnocytophaga. For this reason, it is critical to seek medical attention at a hospital or clinic as soon as possible following a dog attack.
Staphylococcal or staph infections are very common, relatively mild conditions. However, staph infections can become very serious without formal medical attention. Symptoms of this condition usually affect the injury site and may include the following:
- Redness and swelling around the bite
- Red streaks near the bite
- Pus at the site of the wound
- Fever, which is a sign of a spreading infection
Capnocytophaga infections are relatively common after a dog bite. These bacteria can make you very sick, especially if you have a compromised immune system. Symptoms of capnocytophaga infections usually appear within a few days after the attack, but some cases can take a couple of weeks to manifest.
Below are some of the most common signs of capnocytophaga infections:
- Muscle pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Blistering around the wound
- Redness, swelling, and pus around the bite
An untreated capnocytophaga infection can lead to sepsis, a dangerous condition where your body begins attacking itself as a response to an infection. Sepsis can lead to organ failure and death, so it is important to seek medical care immediately.
Pasteurellosis is another common infection after being bit by a dog. Symptoms can include inflammation and redness around the bite. However, pasteurellosis can spread and lead to abscesses, cellulitis, and respiratory problems. To protect yourself, it is important to get checked out by a doctor as soon as you can.
Rabies is a viral disease that can be passed on by a dog that has the condition. Although it is relatively rare, rabies can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. Early symptoms may include weakness, fever, headache, and fatigue.
Once rabies reaches its advanced stage, it is almost always fatal in humans. As it progresses, this disease can cause severe symptoms like:
- Cognitive impairment
- Hydrophobia, or a fear of water
What to Do If You Were Bitten by a Dog
Dog bites can be very serious, even if the wound does not seem severe at first. To protect yourself from a dangerous and potentially life-threatening infection, it is critical to seek medical attention as soon as you can after an accident.
If you are able, you can perform first aid immediately after the bite to reduce the risk of infection. Wash the wound with warm water and antibacterial soap, apply an antibiotic ointment, and dress the wound in clean bandages. Remember, first aid is not a replacement for formal medical care, so make sure to go to the doctor afterward.
Once you have received medical attention, you should contact a Washington dog bite injury lawyer as soon as you can. You may be eligible for financial compensation from the animal’s owner. Contact an attorney after your bite to discuss your legal options.