World Rabies Day: The risk of infections, especially Rabies, underscores the importance of seeking prompt medical attention after animal bites and scratches.
Animal bites and scratches represent a prevalent cause for emergency room visits worldwide, with household pets being the most frequent culprits. In India, however, alongside pet-related incidents, encounters with street dogs often result in such injuries. Beware! Dog bites can result in rabies, which cause nearly 60,000 deaths around the world each year. September 28 is celebrated as World Rabies Day to raise awareness about this deadly disease. So, let’s talk about the treatment for animal bites or scratches.
Are all animal bites and scratches dangerous?“While not all animal bites and scratches pose an immediate threat, any wound that compromises the integrity of the skin can potentially be dangerous. The most dreaded consequence of animal bites is the transmission of Rabies, a lethal viral disease that targets the central nervous system,” says Dr Arvind Y, Pediatrician and Emergency Physician, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Nanakramguda circle, Financial District, Telangana.
“Rabies is indeed a perilous affliction, given its lack of a cure and its profound impact on the central nervous system. Beyond Rabies, there exists the risk of various other infections, as the mouths and nails of animals frequently harbor a multitude of bacteria capable of causing cellulitis and even septicemia,” he adds.
What to do if a child is bitten or scratched by a dog?
When it comes to children, Rabies vaccination is imperative following any scratch or bite that breaks the skin, according to Dr Arvind.
He elaborates, “This regimen typically comprises four doses, administered at predetermined intervals. In cases involving bleeding or deep bites, Rabies Immunoglobulin should be administered in proximity to the wound site.”
Antibiotics may also play a vital role, the decision often hinging on the severity of the wound. For localized wound care, it is recommended to cleanse the affected area thoroughly with running water. Subsequently, applying an antiseptic solution and over-the-counter antiseptic ointments can be beneficial for minor scratches and bites. However, deeper wounds, such as lacerations, will likely necessitate suturing.
Urgency in seeking medical attention cannot be overstated; it is crucial to do so at the earliest possible moment, the Pediatrician notes.
Should the child get vaccinated for tetanus as well?
Dr Arvind answers, “The routine vaccination schedule typically covers Tetanus shots at regular intervals. Consequently, regularly vaccinated children do not require a Tetanus shot until they reach 10 years of age.”
We may say that not all animal bites and scratches are inherently dangerous, the risk of infection, especially Rabies, underscores the importance of seeking prompt medical attention. Vaccination, appropriate wound care, and antibiotic treatment, if necessary, are essential components of managing these injuries to ensure the best possible outcome.
Leading health organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have joined hands to eliminate rabies deaths in people that are caused by dogs by 2030.
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Post source: The Health Site