Most of us have run afoul of an angry dog or cat at some time in our lives, and we’re familiar with the small puncture wounds left by animal bites. Small as they may be, these owies are dangerous infections waiting to happen without proper treatment.

Various animals carry specific diseases which can be transferred to humans via bites. Rabies is a big one, and this is spread by raccoons, skunks, bats, possums, dogs and cats. Yersinia Pestis is another common bacterial disease prevalent in the wilderness because it’s spread by rats and fleas (otherwise known as “the Plague”). Even certain herbivores, who we often look at as being harmless and cute animals, carry Tuberculosis (watch out for elk, deer and bison). All these diseases are a risk, on top of the trauma of the actual bite.

Most adults endure animal bites on the hands. Children are more likely to suffer bites to the face, head and neck.

Whenever a person has been bitten, the first thing to do is to clean the wound thoroughly after stopping any bleeding. Benzalkonium Chloride is best for animal bites, because it has some effect against the Rabies virus, so make sure to keep this antiseptic in your bug-out first aid kit. Frequent flushing with diluted antiseptic solutions like Betadine or even sterilized water will also be important to prevent infection.

Be sure to watch for signs of infection such as redness, warmth, and swelling in the wound area.  Increasing pain is another warning sign.

General signs of infections such as fever are also red flags that the wound needs additional treatment. Antibiotics may be appropriate in many cases.  If the bite is on the hand, any rings or bracelets should be taken off; if swelling occurs, they may be very difficult to remove afterwards.

And, SEE A DOCTOR. Clean up the wound the best you can, and seek medical attention. Professional medical help may be hard to find, but trust me. Do not wait to see what will happen. Going to a doctor is much preferred over death.

Together We Can Survive Anything,
Dean Miller
American Survivor

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