Oftentimes, being a prepper means you might be required to spend some time outdoors. By that same token, that means you’re also going to be at higher risk of being bitten by an animal, which could lead to some serious health consequences such as infection, rabies, and other issues. Dog and cat bites are the most common, but a bite can occur at any time with any animal. Let’s take a look at some of the types of bites you might experience and how to treat them.
Types of Animal Bites
There are three main types of animal bites one might experience:
- Minor bites – These are, thankfully, the most common. They occur when an animal is trying to warn you off. They may or may not break the skin.
- Puncture damage – More serious than a Minor bite, puncture damage occurs when an animal breaks the skin. These bits can inject harmful bacteria into your system and commonly occur in the hand, foot, or face.
- Crushing wounds – These are high-pressure bites that can cause massive damage to tissues
Common Diseases From Animal Bites
After the initial bite, the potential occurrence of disease becomes a major factor in determining how serious a bite actually is. The most common diseases you can get from animal bites include:
- Streptococcal and Staphylococcal infections
- Capnocytophaga infection
Like any other disease, anything that can give you a compromised immune system increases your chances of infection, so it’s important to take care of it as soon as possible. Which brings us to how to treat the wound before the infection.
Treating a Wound from an Animal Bite
Firstly, no prepper should be without a First Aid kit. Make sure you have one on hand before trekking out into the wilderness.
Treating the bite wound depends on the seriousness of the wound itself. If the bite is not bleeding too badly, you can get by with thoroughly cleaning the wounded area and submerging it with soap and warm water. Then treat it with an antibiotic ointment and a clean dressing. However, i the bite is bleeding profusely, you’ll want to stop the bleeding first before you try cleaning the wound. You can apply direct pressure using a rag, your hand, and other ways. If you’re in a dire situation, you can even use fire to close the wound. If you’re in a situation to, you should call for medical help if the situation requires it. Once the bleeding stops, you can then carefully clean the area and treat with antibiotic ointment and a clean dressing.
There is a footnote to cleaning any wound. If you happen to get bitten on a hand or a finger, you’ll want to seek immediate medical attention if you’re able; you’re more likely to develop complications from bites in these areas. Any increased redness, pain, or swelling that occurs after the initial visit should be reported to your medical professional immediately.
You’ll also want to seek help if the animal was one you didn’t recognize, if you haven’t had a tetanus shot in the last five years, if the neck, hands or face is bitten, if there’s any sign of infection, or if the bite is deep or large enough to cause concern. Many times, you may need stitches to allow the wound to heal properly. You should also always report animal bites to your local animal control, as they can capture the animal and find out for sure if a rabies treatment will be required.