When a dog or other animal bites a person, the worry is not solely the severity of the bite itself. Another concern is the potential for infection. When the animal’s teeth pierce the skin, bacteria can enter the body.

Medical News Today explains that in some cases, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body. Infections an animal bite may cause include sepsis and tetanus.

How to prevent an infection

To prevent infection, you should wash the wound as soon as you can. For minor wounds, you can wash with warm water and soap. To flush out bacteria, you can run the wound under warm water and apply an antibiotic cream to it. The last step is to wrap a clean bandage around the bite to prevent more bacteria from entering.

For severe bites, you need to receive medical attention as soon as possible. Press a clean and dry cloth to the bite wound and stop the bleeding. If you feel faint or if you cannot stop the bleeding, this is a medical emergency.

At the hospital, a doctor may use a syringe to clean the wound. He or she may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. If you did not receive the tetanus vaccine in five years, you may need an update.

Signs of an infection

At any sign of an infection, you should see a medical professional. Signs of infection include worsening pain around the bite, warmth, swelling and redness around the area. If you see any oozing from the wound or if you present with a fever, you may have an infection.