Notes on providing first aid to the person who is bitten by animals

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It is true that a small percentage of persons experi­ence a poisonous snake bite or have a severe allergic reaction from the venom of stinging insect. It is a serious problem when one does have such an experience. It is extremely important to recognize the situation and to take steps to protect the victim. Snakes are considered to be the most dangerous of the venomous animals.

Most of the major animal groups have a poisonous species from the standpoint of being toxic to other animals and man. Although there is no poisonous mammal, yet mammals are capable of trans­mitting the virus of rabies (hydrophobia) which is one of the world’s oldest and most feared diseases. In most cases the bite of the infected animal transmits the infection to the victim.

Animal Bite:

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The term mad-dog is commonly used because the animal may become vicious and readily attack other animals including man. The infection of rabies is associated with the bites and licks of mammals. These include primarily the dog, cat, fox and bat. However it could be caused by the bite or lick of any mammal infected with the disease at a given time.

Rabies is caused by a virus present in the saliva of the infected mammal. If that mammal will lick the bale body having an injury in the skin, the virus may enter the body. Rabies, if untreated continues to take the lives of 100 percent of its victims. If an animal or man develops the symptoms or if the disease has its onset, it is always fatal.

There is a very effective and widely used vaccina­tion for dogs and cats. However, this is a difficult law to enforce. More recently Rabies hyper immune serum or ARS (Anti Rabies Serum) is the only known treatment for the individual, who is exposed to disease. The ARS should be administered before the disease has its onset. It consists of 14 to 30 injections. It is given everyday till the prescribed number is taken as advised by the physician. In most states, the hyper immune serum is given without cost.

Signs to watch for the rabid animal:

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There are indications to look for and to understand in the animal suspected of having rabies.

(i) The animal may appear to be docile during the early stages or the animal may be very nervous even aggressive and then become docile.

(ii) The animal may develop a cough and act as if it had a bone fast in its throat.

(iii) The animal may be very nervous and tear and destroy its bedding, chew on wood or other items.

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(iv) The animal may be or become vicious and attempt to fight any and all.

The animal may show evidence of paralysis, especially in the hind legs.

(vi) If the animal escapes, it may travel for 10 to 15 miles or until it dies. During this travel it may attack other animals. This is a common means of spreading the disease.

Protection:

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It is important that animal bites receive emergency care. The bite is reported and a physician be consulted. Steps to remember are as follows:

(i) The wound should by clear with soap and water to wash away the virus.

(ii) A physician should be consulted for further treatment.

(iii) The animal, if secured, should be watched care­fully for at least ten days.

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(iv) The bites about the face and neck airs extremely dangerous The closet the bite is to the brain or spinal cord, the shorter the incubation period because the virus travels by way of nerves rather than the blood stream.

(v) The local health authorities should be informed.

(vi) Sick animals and strange animals should be avoi­ded or destroyed.

(vii) All dogs and cats should be vaccinated to protect them from this disease. If an animal is exposed to the disease, it should either be destroyed or be confined for a period of up to six months.

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