Dog attacks are probably more common than you think. In fact, dogs bite roughly five million Americans every single year. If an animal attacks you, you may expect to suffer lacerations, broken bones or psychological trauma. You should also be on high alert for a possible infection.
Infections can be deadly, as they may lead to sepsis and other life-threatening complications. While anyone can develop an infection after an animal attack, three factors increase a person’s likelihood of acquiring one.
1. Wound contamination
Cleansing a bite wound with soap and warm water is usually a good idea, as infections often start with wound contamination. If bacteria remain near the surface of the wound, a gentle scrubbing may lower your infection risk.
2. Wound severity
A deep or severe wound has a greater chance of developing an infection than a superficial one. If a dog’s teeth tear far into your flesh, you likely cannot scrub away bacteria. Similarly, if the bite breaks a bone, tears a major vein or causes other serious damage, an infection may be imminent.
3. Your immune system
A healthy immune system may be able to fight off an infection before it becomes serious. If you have a weakened immune system, though, your health may be at risk.
Even if you do not have a compromised immune system, you should see a doctor following any animal attack. After all, a skilled physician can monitor you for signs of infection and take the necessary steps to protect your overall health.