With the weather improving, many people, as well as animals, are spending more time outdoors.
More time outside increases the risk of animal bites, both from household pets and unfamiliar animals. Throughout the year, the national medical community sees between two and five million patients seeking treatment for animal-caused cuts, lacerations and bites, with the medical costs for dog bites estimated at $165 million per year.
"Dog bites in particular are frequently caused by animals known to the victim, and occur more often in males and in children without provocation," said Dr. LouAnne Ten Kate, medical director for Five Star Urgent Care. "The safest way to control and manage animal bites on individuals is prevention, starting with choosing the right domestic animal for your family, and ending with teaching children how to be safe around dogs - both known and unknown."
Some additional prevention tips offered by Dr. Ten Kate include:
Obtain the appropriate training for your animal from a reputable animal trainer;
Spend time with the animal prior to bringing the animal into your family;
Teach children how to be safe around dogs;
Do not approach, run from, or scream around an unfamiliar dog;
Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog;
If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and be still;
Avoid direct eye contact with a dog;
Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies; and
Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first
"The same prevention tips apply for cats-whose bites are commonly found on upper extremities, such as hands and arms-are typically deep punctures caused by cats' slender teeth, which can result in severe infections from bacteria exposure," Ten Kate said.
For those who have been bitten by any type of animal, Five Star Urgent Care recommends consulting with a primary care provider or visiting the nearest Five Star facility to determine the proper medical treatment. Five Star Urgent Care has an office in the Riverwalk Center in Jamestown.