Even if you are a dog lover, you probably realize many companion animals pose some risk to strangers. Therefore, before you approach a pup, it is advisable to ask its handler for permission. You also may want to stay far away from stray and injured dogs.
While you can decrease your chances of becoming a victim of a dog attack, you may never be able to eliminate them completely. Because dog bites can cause catastrophic injuries, it is important to go to the emergency room for treatment. Afterward, you should closely monitor yourself for infection.
How do bite-related infections happen?
Dogs have millions of bacteria and other germs in their mouths and beneath their claws. If a dog attack breaks your skin even superficially, these germs may work their way into your soft tissues and bloodstream. While your body’s immune response may fight infection, it easily can become overwhelming.
What is sepsis?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.7 million Americans develop infection-related sepsis every single year. This serious health condition happens when the body overreacts to an infection. Because sepsis can be deadly, it is imperative to treat it as a medical emergency.
What are the symptoms of sepsis?
When you are recovering from a dog bite, you should watch for redness, soreness, swelling and other signs of infection. If you have any of the following symptoms, though, your infection may be on its way to becoming septic:
- An elevated heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Fevers, chills or sweats
- Confusion, disorientation or dizziness
- Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
Ultimately, if your dog bite causes you to develop sepsis, you may have grounds to pursue substantial financial compensation from the animal’s owner.