Animal Bite

It doesn’t only mean from animals found in the wild, even “Man’s Best Friend” or Tom and Jerry can be a cause for danger. There are also the prospects of insects, lots of them, which can also be potentially harmful to us human beings.

As a general rule to follow: You may wash the wound created by the bite with soap and running water, but if it’s something unknown, let it be so that even if you don’t get a view of the animal, it can be identified through the venom or saliva left (as in the case of some snakes and wild animals). Don’t let it come into contact with any other sensitive parts or don’t attempt to suck it out as this is fairly useless and is dangerous. Control the bleeding if there’s any with pressure and use a clean bandage to cover. Report the bite to a doctor or head for the nearest hospital emergency department for further treatment immediately. Also, try to look for the animal’s owner if it’s a pet, just to be sure that all vaccines for it are updated. If not, provide a description for identification.

Symptoms

  • Animal bites may be visible in the form of cuts or skin breaks.
  • Scratches, claw marks or fang scrapes.
  • Bruises around puncture-type wounds may also be seen.
  • Pain around an area may also be experienced.
  • In some cases, there may be fever, headache or even vomiting, and can indicate something else. The bites might have also been received on a different time period, for example, a day or two before the symptoms appeared and may require immediate attention.

First Aid for a Snake Bite

To provide some insight on the dangers caused by Snakes, check out our list here for the 10 Deadliest Snakes found in Australia based on Australian Geographic.

In the event of a snake bite or suspected snake bite, DO NOT

  • Wash the bitten area. Any venom retained near the bite site can assist in identifying the snake.
  • Cut the bitten area or try to suck venom out of the wound.
  • Apply a tourniquet. Blood must still be allowed to circulate with the pressure bandage.
  • Try to catch or kill the snake. Avoid harm to yourself. Also, the victim, be it you or someone, will need more attention.

Steps to Follow:

1. Monitor Lifeline
Maintain patient’s airway, breathing and circulation. Be prepared to give CPR if patient loses consciousness. Follow DRABC.

2. Immobilize patient
Have the patient lie down and encourage them to remain calm. Do not allow them to move around. Ask them to lie still.

3. Apply a pressure bandage
Apply a firm pressure bandage starting just above the toes or fingers depending on the bitten area. Roll the bandage around the limb, moving up or down as far as possible. The bandage needs to be firm but do not cut off circulation to the limb. Apply a splint to the bitten limb and secure with another bandage. Check that the fingers or toes still have blood circulating to them periodically (every 15 minutes).

4. Identify snake
Try to identify the snake without risking being bitten yourself. Ask the patient exactly what the snake looked like, including colour, markings and behavior. Do NOT attempt to catch or kill the snake.

5. Seek medical help
Have the patient lie down calmly. Tell them not to move and try to control their breathing.

First Aid for a Spider Bite

For a more comprehensive list, you might want to check the Australia’s 10 Most Dangerous Spiders according to the Australian Geographic.

Steps to Follow:

1. Immobilize the patient
Have the patient lie down calmly. Tell them not to move and try to control their breathing.

2. Call for help
Request medical assistance as soon as possible. Advise them that a spider bite is suspected.

3. Identify the spider
If possible, try to identify the spider without risking getting bitten yourself. Kill the spider if necessary. Ask the patient to describe it in detail.

4. Apply a cold compress
Make a cold compress by soaking a cloth in cool water, or wrapping a bag of frozen vegetables in a cloth. Apply this to the bite area.

5. Bandage the affected area
Apply a pressure bandage to immobilize the limb. The bandage should cover the entire limb, but not stop circulation.

First Aid for a Dog, Cat, Rodent or Bat Bite

Steps to Follow:

1. Wash the wound thoroughly.
Use soap or any form of antiseptic. Clean the area around the wound thoroughly as well.

2. Cover the wound.
Use sterile wound dressing, especially if there’s severe bleeding, you may need to elevate the wound or apply direct pressure. Call an ambulance if the bleeding persists. Else, get to the hospital as soon as you can.

3. Know the risk of Australian Bat Lyssavirus Infection (ABLV) and Rabies carried from outside sources.
Animals have a huge tendency of carrying harmful diseases, one such is the ABLV discovered in 1996 that shows similar traits to the world-deadly Rabies Infection. Now although it’s been declared rare to infect citizens locally, other animal bites (especially those carried into the country from foreign countries) may cause a similar severe reaction which may not show signs immediately. So if you are exposed to such a bite, take it seriously, particularly if it’s uncertain whether the animal is clear or not. It is better to get to a hospital real quick and also to report the animal to concerned authorities so that it does not continue to pose as a further threat.

First Aid for Bee and other Stings

Remember that insect stings, although some not as harmful as others and may require nothing more than a good ointment, can cause allergic reactions that may prove fatal (see Allergic Reactions) so still be wary. Especially if you don’t know what insect it is. Some common biting insects: Mites, Fleas, Mosquitoes, Bedbugs, Ants, Spiders. Some common stinging insects: Bees, Wasps, Hornets, Scorpions.

Symptoms:

Pain in specific areas accompanied by swelling, redness, itchiness or irregular numbness and burning
A tingling sensation, breathlessness and a certain weakness
Common symptoms of allergic reaction (see Allergic Reaction)

Steps to Follow:

1. Remove the stinger without pinching it.
Stingers, even if they have already been separated from the insect still continue to pump venom into the victim. Squeezing or pinching it will pump more venom in. Use clean hands, a pair of tweezers or any sharp edge. Just exercise a bit of caution so the wound doesn’t get infected or enlarged than it already is.

2. Control the swelling.
Remove any jewelry that may irritate or prove hard to take off once the area bloats. Use ice. Elevate the part if you suspect the venom to be more potent and might kill. Don’t scratch even if the temptation is there as this may worsen the swelling.

3. Treat the symptoms.
True, some insect stings might just need a painkiller or an ointment, as well as a few days rest to recover from. But for serious reactions, it’s best to call an ambulance, administer an immediate dosage of “EpiPen” or Epinephrine and get to the doctor. If breathing stops and the further harm is foreseen and help is still on the way, remember DR.ABC and monitor the patient’s lifeline, ensuring they are responsive and breathing on their own else you may also need to resuscitate him or her. It’s also necessary that you stay with the victim until it’s certain there’s a medical professional around.

Related Links

http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/injury/animal-bites/overview.html
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-animal-bites/FA00044
http://www.australian-shepherd-lovers.com/first-aid-for-dog-bites.html
http://www.medindia.net/patients/Firstaid_Insectbites.htm
http://firstaid.webmd.com/allergy-insect-sting-treatment

 

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