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What to do if you are bitten whilst out in placement

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If you have been bitten by an animal:

  • clean the wound immediately by running warm tap water over it for a couple of minutes – it’s a good idea to do this even if the skin does not appear to be broken
  • remove any objects from the bite, such as teeth, hair or dirt
  • encourage the wound to bleed slightly by gently squeezing it, unless it’s already bleeding freely
  • if the wound is bleeding heavily, put a clean pad or sterile dressing over it and apply pressure
  • dry the wound and cover it with a clean dressing or plaster
  • seek medical advice, unless the wound is very minor

 

When to seek medical advice

 

The healthcare professional treating you may:

  • clean the wound and remove any damaged tissue
  • prescribe a course of antibiotics to prevent infection
  • recommend specific treatment to prevent infections such as tetanus if you’re felt to be at risk
  • close the wound with stitches if the risk of infection is thought to be low – high-risk wounds will usually be left open as this means they’re easier to keep clean
  • arrange blood tests to check for infection, or an X-ray to check for any damage to your bones and see if there’s anything embedded in your wound, such as a tooth
  • refer you for an assessment by a specialist if the bite penetrated a joint or there’s severe damage, such as damage to bones or nerves – surgery may be needed in these cases

When you return home, watch out for signs of a possible infection.

 

Signs that a bite may be infected

Symptoms that suggest a wound has become infected include:

  • redness and swelling around the wound
  • the wound feels warm and increasingly painful
  • liquid or pus leaks from the wound
  • a fever of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • sweats and chills
  • swollen glands under the chin or in the neck, armpits or groin
  • red streaks extending along the skin from the wound

Get medical help as soon as possible if you think your wound is infected.

Ref – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/animal-and-human-bites/

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