Animal Bites, Bug Bites & Stings

Animal Bites, Bug Bites & Stings


Animal Bites

Although they may not seem serious at first, animal bites can quickly become infected if left untreated. Any animal bite contains bacteria that can be transferred into the bloodstream and cause serious complications. Consider the following advice when treating animal bites. Ideally, you should have all of the necessary items in your emergency first aid kit.

If you see swelling, redness, or other signs of infection, get the patient to a doctor as soon as possible. Infections can become very serious very quickly so do not delay.

  • Minor Wounds: Minor wounds (scrapes, abrasions) that have barely broken the skin should be treated just the same as any other minor wound. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and then apply a little antibiotic cream to prevent it from becoming infected. Cover the wound with a clean bandage.
  • Deep Wounds: Wounds that have punctured the skin cause extensive bleeding should be treated by applying pressure using a clean, dry cloth. Find a doctor for further treatment as soon as possible. In the meantime, make sure that you stop the bleeding and keep the wound as clean and sterile as possible.

Doctors recommend that we all have our tetanus shot every 10 years so it’s important that you keep up-to-date with these things. If it’s more than five years since your last shot, then you may need a booster. Ask your doctor if you think you need a booster or tetanus shot.

If you are bitten by a wild animal or a domestic animal which as not been immunized, then you may be at risk of rabies. Rabies is most common among bats, coyotes, skunks, foxes, and raccoons. It is unlikely (but not impossible) to be present in dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents.


Bug Bites & Stings

There are many different signs and symptoms of bug bites and stings depending on the type of insect. Typically, a bite or sting is caused by an injection of some type of venom into your skin. This can cause pain, swelling, and may even trigger an allergic reaction — the severity of which depends entirely on how sensitive you are to the venom or other substance.

The reaction to an insect bite or sting is usually quite mild and tends to be more itchy and annoying than painful. Typical bites and stings cause stinging or itching that usually will usually disappear after a day or so. You may also suffer from a delayed reaction that can cause hives, fever, swollen glands, and painful joints. A small number of people will develop anaphylaxis as a result of insect venom.

After a bite or sting, follow this advice to make sure you mitigate the damage.

  • Move away from the nest or hive to avoid getting more stings or bites.
  • If you can capture the insect or take a picture of it, do so. It’s easier for doctors to administer the correct antivenom if they know what type of insect bit or stung you.
  • If you can see the stinger, remove it. This will prevent any more venom from being released.
  • Wash the area thoroughly using soap and water.
  • If possible, apply a cold pack to help reduce swelling.
  • Take some form of pain relief like ibuprofen.
  • Rub on some antihistamine cream in case of an allergic reaction to help ease the pain and relieve the itching.
  • If the patient has trouble breathing, immediately contact emergency services. Start CPR if the patient stops breathing.