Due to the popularity of dogs in California and around the country, dog bites are alarmingly common. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, more than 800,000 Americans seek medical care for dog bites every single year. Interestingly, most of these bites come from familiar dogs.
It is important to understand that not all bite-related injuries appear immediately. Consequently, even if you think you are mostly fine, it is advisable to go to a trauma center for a medical evaluation. You also should watch for the signs of infection until your wounds completely heal.
How do infections happen?
Dogs have millions of germs in their mouths and beneath their claws. If a dog attack breaks your skin, these germs can enter your soft tissues or even your bloodstream. Moreover, because you have bacteria on your body, damaged skin can cause you to develop an infection. You also can pick up an infection at the hospital or during your recovery.
How does an infection look?
Fortunately, regardless of the germs that cause them, most infections present in the same way. If you have one or more of the following symptoms after a dog attack, you should go to the emergency room immediately:
- Discharge from the wound site
- Redness around the wound site
- Swelling or blistering
- Fever or chills
- Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
- Headache, dizziness or confusion
As you probably know, medical treatment can be quite expensive. Ultimately, though, you might have legal grounds to pursue financial compensation from the dog’s owner for any bite-related injuries and complications you suffer.