Animal bites are a leading cause of injuries to children and minors, but they can cause serious injuries in adults as well. Animals bites most often occur when a child is unsupervised around a pet. In most cases, children are bitten by pets they know and have safely spent time with before. Unfortunately, pet bites can pose a serious danger for small children and can even be fatal. Dog bites in small children can lead to brain damage, broken bones, and serious lacerations that require surgeries and cosmetic correction. Even cat bites can leave serious scarring and can easily become infected.
When small children are bitten by an animal, it is imperative to take them to a hospital, where they can be properly evaluated. Both children and adults should also visit an emergency room in the event of a biting by an unknown animal. Rabies treatment is most effective when initiated quickly and any unknown animal may be carrying a disease. Proper evaluation and early treatment are a must.
You should also seek immediate medical attention if the person who has been bitten has a condition – such as cancer, AIDS, lung disease, diabetes, or liver disease – that makes them susceptible to infection. Seek medical help if the wound is gaping, deep, or oozing pus. If you have not had a tetanus shot for five years, you may also need some immunization to prevent complications.
For more minor injuries involving a known pet, it is a good idea to wash the affected area with water and a mild soap gently and then to stop bleeding with a clean towel and some pressure to the wound. Wrap the bite wound in a bandage and elevate the area above the heart level to prevent infection and excessive swelling. Since animal saliva can contain bacteria, make sure that you apply an antibiotic ointment (available over the counter at your local pharmacy) two times a day until the wound has healed. Your pharmacist can often recommend a product if you do not have ointment on hand.
You may want to contact local authorities or animal control to report an animal bite if the bite you have sustained was caused by a pet that was not properly restrained. Animal owners have a responsibility to keep their animals on a leash or inside to prevent injuries to others. If an owner has allowed an animal to roam free and that animal has bitten you or a loved one, it is possible that the animal may also injure others. Local authorities can investigate the matter and ensure that the area is safe. If necessary, authorities will warn or fine the owner to ensure that the animal is correctly restrained.
If you have sustained a serious animal bite injury which caused by someone’s negligence, you may wish to consult a personal injury attorney as well. A Florida personal injury attorney can investigate the matter and can provide you with all the help available to you under the law. If your injury will require income loss, time away from work, cosmetic surgery, and medical bills, and attorney can ensure that you do not have to pay these costs entirely out of pocket. As well, legal action can often compel a negligent pet owner to keep more control over their pet. Unfortunately, some pet owners routinely let their animals roam free in residential areas and only stop this dangerous practice when legally compelled to do so. Seeking an attorney’s help can therefore ensure that others are not injured as well.