When someone gets bitten by a dog, one of the worst things that can happen is that the bite gets infected. A victim may consider a dog bite to be a relatively minor injury. But infections can be incredibly serious, and there are even situations in which an infection could become fatal.
Additionally, dog bites are predisposed to getting infected more than many other types of injuries. They tend to be puncture wounds, so the act of being bitten pushes bacteria and sometimes debris – such as fibers from your clothes – down into the injury. Because they are puncture wounds, they also tend not to bleed as much, so the act of bleeding will not generally help to clean out the wound. For all these reasons and more, it’s important to know what infection symptoms you may see in the aftermath of experiencing a bite so that you can respond properly.
What should you look for?
Keep in mind that the following is not an exhaustive list of all potential symptoms of an infection. But these are some of the main things people see, and it may be time to see the doctor if you recognize multiple symptoms affecting an injury. Warning signs include:
- A feeling of heat or warmth at the bite
- Stiffness and problems moving the body part that was injured
- Pain that continues for more than 24 hours or that slowly gets worse over time, rather than better
- Redness and swelling around the bite, which could include things like red streaks moving away from it
- Any sort of discharge or drainage coming from that bite, as pus could be a sign of infection as the body fights it off
If you have been bitten and the bite does get infected, it’s quite important to talk to medical professionals as soon as you can. They can help to clean the wound and treat it properly, perhaps giving you antibiotics. They can also work to ensure that it doesn’t turn into a more serious issue, such as sepsis.
All of this treatment may be expensive, leaving you with significant medical bills. You’ll need to know exactly how to seek financial compensation from the dog’s owner or their insurance provider if you believe they were responsible for the injury or if you were bitten in a state that applies a strict liability theory of law to bite cases. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.