Getting bitten by an animal can happen to anyone, and it’s even more common during the summer months. Whether you’ve been bitten recently or not, it’s important to know what to do if your cat, dog or some other type of animal gets agitated and decides to take it out on your skin.

Our AFC Urgent Care NC team explains what to do if you’ve been bitten by an animal below, so read on!

Do I Need to Go to the Doctor Right Away?

It’s safest to do so—especially if the animal bite breaks the skin. We suggest seeking medical help to make sure the bite doesn’t become infected, and to receive a rabies vaccine if you aren’t familiar with the animal that bit you.

Before you visit the doctor, though, you need to perform some initial first aid on the bite to keep the wound under control. We’ve listed the necessary first-aid guidelines after you sustain a bite below.

First-Aid Steps

  • Stop the wound from bleeding by applying direct pressure with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Wash the wound. Use mild soap and warm, running water. Rinse the bite for three to five minutes.
  • Apply an antibacterial ointment to the wound. This may help reduce the risk for infection.
  • Put on a dry, sterile bandage.
  • If the bite is on the neck, head, face, hand, fingers or feet, visit our AFC center ASAP.

Are There Ways to Prevent Animal Bites From Happening?

Absolutely! While you can’t 100% prevent animal bites from happening, there are lots of little things you can do around your family pet and stray animals to dramatically lower your risk of getting bitten.

We’ve listed some animal bite prevention methods below.

Ways to Prevent Animal Bites

  • Choose your family pet carefully. Be sure to keep their vaccinations current.
  • Don’t approach stray animals.
  • Don’t try to separate fighting animals. You may get bit in the process.
  • Avoid contact with animals that are sick or have unknown vaccination records.
  • Don’t disturb animals while they’re eating. Animals often are protective of their food.
  • Keep your pets on a leash when in public.

If you’ve been bitten by an animal, don’t hesitate to visit one of our AFC Urgent Care NC centers today to get the treatment you need.