Rarely, animal bites (particularly from wild animals) can lead to rabies, a life-threatening disease. Bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes transmit most cases of rabies.
What to Do
Wash the bite area with soap and water; apply pressure with sterile gauze or a clean cloth if the bite is bleeding.
If the bleeding has stopped, apply antibiotic ointment.
Cover the area with a bandage or sterile gauze.
Offer your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.
Seek Medical Care
the bite was from:
a wild or stray animal
a pet that isn’t up-to-date on rabies shots
an animal that is acting strangely
the bite has broken the skin
the bite is on the face, head, neck, hand, foot, or near a joint
a bite or scratch becomes red, hot, swollen, or increasingly painful
your child is behind on shots or has not had a tetanus shot within 5 years
When seeking treatment, have the following information on hand:
the kind of animal that bit your child
the date of the animal’s last rabies vaccination, if known
any recent unusual behavior by the animal
the animal’s location, if known
if the animal was a stray or wild, or was captured by a local animal control service
your child’s immunization (shots) record
a list of any medicines your child is allergic to
Many animal bites can be prevented. Always keep a close eye on young kids around animals, even pets. Teach kids not to tease pets, to handle them gently, and to stay away from wild or stray animals.