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Q

My neighbor’s dog bit me a few days ago. It was a small bite that didn’t look serious. I washed it, but I didn’t go to the doctor. Now it is red and swollen. What are the signs of a dog bite infection?

A

Each year, almost 800,000 Americans require medical treatment for dog bite injuries. When most of us think of serious dog bite injuries, we think of large bites that cause scarring and disfigurement. However, infection is the most common reason that dog bite victims seek medical treatment.  In fact, three-quarters of dog bites become infected.

A dog’s mouth can contain as many as 300 different species of bacteria. When a dog bites, the bacteria in the dog’s mouth are pushed into the dog bite victim. Although these bacteria are harmless in the mouth of a dog, they have the potential to cause serious illness in a human.

A dog bite infections can develop quickly. You may see signs of infection within hours of the attack. You could become seriously ill within a few days. It is important that all Pennsylvania dog bite victims know the warning signs of a dog bite infection.

Warning Signs of a Dog Bite Infection

  • Swelling around the bite wound
  • Warmth in the skin around the bite wound
  • Any discharge from the bite wound
  • Redness near the bite wound
  • Red streaks that radiate from the site of the bite
  • Swollen or painful lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Lethargy

 

If you experience any of these signs of infection, go to the emergency room right away. While most dog bite infections can be treated with antibiotics, untreated infections can cause  serious complications, including meningitis, blood poisoning, septicemia, organ failure, and death.

The dog owner is liable for all injuries and illnesses caused by a dog bite.  If you have difficulty getting compensation for your medical bills after a Pennsylvania dog bite, please call Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo, P.C., at 888-807-WORK (9675). Ask to schedule a free consultation. We’ll tell you about your legal rights.