Animal | Human Bites
If an animal or human bite occurs, it can be hard to know if medical care is required for minor wounds. Often, the injury happens quickly and unexpectedly, so it is important that you know where to go when emergency services are required. At iCare ER and Urgent Care, our emergency room is open 24/7, providing the immediate access you need when an accident occurs.
Why Medical Care is Recommended
Unlike other scratches and bruises, it is recommended to seek medical care if a bite occurs. If these wounds are not treated immediately, then they can lead to serious infection. In some cases, an animal bite can be fatal due to rabies or venom. If you or a loved one has suffered an open wound from an animal or human bite, then the best thing you can do is seek medical attention as soon as possible. Both domestic and wild animals can bite if the animal is feeling threatened. Children have the highest risk of animal bites, especially from domestic pets.
Here are some of the reasons why medical treatment might be needed for a bite:
- Infection: When the skin is punctured, there is a high risk of bacteria entering the wound. This exposure can lead to infection, especially when the bite is on a hand or near a joint. Antibiotics might be needed to stop the infection from spreading to other parts of the body. Additionally, managing the infection with antibiotics helps to speed up recovery and improve the overall healing of the bite wound.
- Viral Spread: Most bite infections are caused by bacteria, which means that antibiotics can be used as mentioned above. There are times when viral infections are spread through bites, but these infections don’t respond to antibiotic medications. Your doctor can determine the proper treatment if needed.
- Underlying Damage: Any type of animal bite can cause serious damage to the tissue. If the structure of the joint is affected or the underlying tissue has been damaged, then specialized care might be necessary to avoid long-term complications.
- Tetanus or Rabies: There is a potential of exposure to rabies and tetanus. It is important to check your immunization records to determine if you are up-to-date on these shots. You might need a booster shot or follow-up treatments as recommended by the doctor.
- Venom: If the bite is caused by a snake or spider, then it is possible that venom was introduced into the body. Emergency treatment should be provided immediately. The ER staff will ask descriptive questions about the type of snake. Provide as much information as possible to help with the treatment.
- Stitches: Depending on the size of the wound, stitches might be required to close up the skin. Stitches are important to promote proper healing and minimize the risk of infection development.
The most common cause of human bites is when a child bites another child. But there are times when adult human bite wounds need to be treated as well. Bites inflicted by a child tend to be minor or moderate because they aren’t as forceful as an adult bite. As a result, the wound usually isn’t very deep and there is a lower risk of infection and damage to the underlying tissue. There is a high risk of infection from a human bite, including the transmission of disease. Additionally, a deep bite can damage joints, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or bones. It is essential to talk to a doctor as soon as possible so medical tests can be performed. Our experienced team can use tissue cultures, blood tests, and x-rays to determine the extent of the damage.
What to Expect
When you visit iCare, our team of exceptional and experienced physicians will immediately assess your situation, employ life-saving intervention as needed and provide a physical examination. Your care team, lead by experience ER Physicians may perform further tests, such as chest X-rays, or laboratory tests. Once you are diagnosed, a treatment plan will be provided based on the severity of your condition and symptoms. In the event that a patient requires hospitalization or other procedures that we do not offer at iCare, we are able to transfer them to a hospital for admission.