Pets are such a source of happiness. Pet licks and minor scratches may not seem like much. However, what may appear harmless could actually put your's and your kid's life in danger. These animals contain a lot of germs, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Rabies is a disease, that can be deadly. This is true for both pets and strays. Even bites from cats, can become infected by bacteria. Cat scratch disease is a bacterial infection caused by the scratch from a cat or if the bacteria laden saliva comes in contact with the whites of our eyes or even the mucous membranes of the nose or mouth. Sure the pets may be vaccinated, but its always better to be safe than sorry. Here we put together, some first aid in case of animal bites and licks.

 

Types of exposure to animals Description
Category I Touching, feeding animals, exposure to licks.
Category II

Exposure due to:
nibbling of uncovered skin

minor scratches or abrasions without bleeding

licks on broken, damaged, punctured or wounded skin

Category III Bites or scratches, contamination with saliva from licks, exposure to bat bites or scratches

Animals that could transmit rabies include dogs, monkeys, foxes, skunks, cattle, wolves, bats, cats, raccoons, foxes, domestic farm animals, squirrels and  wild carnivores.

Primary first aid

  • If the bite is not bleeding, clean the site with soap and water and run water on it for a couple of minutes. There is no need to go all fancy, simple soap and water will do.
  • If there is considerable bleeding, apply enough pressure to the area with a clean bandage, kerchief or any clean cloth that you can lay your hands on. Do this until the bleeeding stops.
  • Once you have controlled the bleeding, tap dry the wound and dab a bit of antiseptic or antibiotic cream and cover the site with a cloth or gauze.
  • Once you've done the above steps, take the person to the ED or casualty department of a hospital. The child may need ARV (anti rabies) vaccine or maybe a dose of antibiotics to treat infections like cat scratch disease. 

All about ARV vaccine

Post-exposure treatment, consists of treating the wound locally, followed by vaccination. This treatment should begin as early as possible especially in animal byte categories II and III. If the animal involved remains healthy throughout an observation period of 10 days after the bite, treatment may be discontinued.

In the case of category I, there is  no treatment required. However, in the case of category II and III, immediate vaccination is of utmost importance. In category III, rabies immune globulin neeeds to applied at the site, in addition to performing all the primary first aid tips mentioned above.

In cases where an already ARV vaccinated person comes into possible contact with rabies virus, it is best to get two doses of the vaccine on days 0 and 3 to offer complete immunity

You can still get ARV vaccinated if you have a minor illness like a cold. However,  if you suffer from serious diseases like HIV or if your immune system is compromised, then you need to get a professional opinion from a doctor before you get vaccinated.

Schedule of ARV vaccine

  • One dose of the vaccine should be administered on days 0, 3, 7, 14 and 30. 
  • For small children, the vaccination is administered in the thighs.
  • For older individuals, vaccination is administed in deltoid region of the upper arm near the shoulders.

Prevention tips

  • Train children to stay away from stray animals.
  • Do not tease or provoke any animals, even pets.
  • Animals should never be disturbed or taunted, especially when they are eating or sleeping.
  • Pets must be properly immunized.

First aid for snake bites

In case of snake bite. The following need to be taken into account:

  • Have the person lie down with the wound below the heart level.
  • Try to keep the person calm and to remain as still as possible. This helps to prevent the rapid spread of venom.
  • Cover the wound loosely and remove all obstructions like jewellery, tight clothing etc.
  • Remember the description of the snake. You may need to provide accurate description to the medical staff, to establish if the snake was venomous or not.
  • Take the  victim to the hospital at the earliest. If it was a venomous snake, then the person would need to be given anti-venom injections, otherwise a tetanus injection would do. But that is upto the decision of the doctor.