Most people identify themselves as animal lovers. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, 60.2percent of American households have a puppy and over 47% have a cat. Not to mention reptiles, birds, and other large mammals! Although animals play a large part in our lives, different triggers can cause an animal to attack.
In a news segment on KENS5, it was reported that San Antonio ranks #11 in the country for dog attacks on postal workers. The CDC also tells us that men and children are more likely to be attacked by dogs.
Prevention is key: Animals will normally give warning signals before attacking. Growling, hissing, arched back, and reduced ears are simply a couple of the signals that animals give us when they feel threatened.
For puppies: Don’t approach an unknown dog, do not make eye contact, and back away slowly.
For cats: Walk away when they start showing aggression (i.e. raised hair, arched back, thrashing tail, etc.). Give the animal an opportunity to calm down before attempting to interact with it.
Wild animals: Keep calm, make yourself look larger than you are, and back away slowly.
Get to security: Put as much distance between the victim and the animal as you can. Use your own body, clothing, or items such as a purse or backpack to keep the creature from attacking vulnerable areas such as the face and neck.
Assess the situation: Depending on the creature and the chances of it being vaccinated, you may or may not need medical assistance. If the wounds aren’t too deep, the animal was vaccinated in the previous 364 days, and you are up-to-date in your tetanus shots, you can safely cleanse the area with water and soap, use an antibiotic ointment on the injury, and bandage it up. Seek medical attention if the harm becomes red, painful, or swollen.
Know when to seek help: Seek medical attention immediately if the victim has deep wounds with excessive bleeding, becomes feverish, or is attacked by an animal that has not been vaccinated in the last year. Many animals carry dangerous diseases that can cause infection and, in some cases, even death.
When someone is attacked by any creature, timing is crucial. Save precious time by familiarizing yourself with the areas of local hospitals such as the Physicians Premier San Antonio ER where assistance can be found 24 hours a day.
Be sure to check out our Physicians Premier Blog for other tips and information on health and wellness.