Even if you love to be around dogs, you probably understand the risk they pose. An unexpected attack may leave you with serious injuries, ranging from deep lacerations to nerve damage. The dangers of a dog bite do not necessarily cease when the attack stops, though.
In roughly 50% of dog bites, bacteria enters the victim’s body. While your immune system may be able to fight off staphylococcus, streptococcus, capnocytophaga or other bacteria before they lead to an infection, you should closely monitor your symptoms.
Infections may cause noticeable symptoms
Infections that stem from dog bites are usually polymicrobial, meaning they involve many types of bacteria. Fortunately, regardless of the bacteria that causes the infection, your body only has a few ways to tell you something is wrong.
The following symptoms may indicate a bite-related infection:
- Pain, redness or swelling around the bite wound
- Fluid oozing from the wound
- Fevers, chills or swollen lymph nodes
- Fatigue, nausea or vomiting
If you know the dog that bit you, it may be fine simply to monitor your wound for signs of infection. If the animal is a stray or otherwise unfamiliar to you, the threat of rabies and other serious illnesses requires you to visit the emergency room.
Infections may complicate your recovery process
If a dog bite leads to an infection, you are apt to have a longer recovery, as an infection may slow your body’s healing process. Likewise, the infection may cause additional injuries, which take time to heal after the infection is under control.
Ultimately, your ability to fight off or recover from a dog infection may depend on your overall health and other factors. If you are not feeling better or your symptoms worsen, you should seek emergency medical care or talk to your doctor immediately.