Minor animal bites and scratches are common and can usually be treated at home. These bites and scratches commonly do not induce any health problems if you have a good immune system, do not have any health complications, are not suffering from other diseases, and have got a tetanus shot within the last five years. Proper home treatments are essential in order to get rid of any resulted symptoms and promote proper healing.
How to treat cat bites and scratches on humans
Cat bites and scratches may not always cause major health complications and diseases. However, it is usually really painful and thus, needs special attention. There are some steps you can do in order to treat cat bites and scratches properly.
Stop the bleeding
If you are bitten or scratched by a cat, you are likely to bleed. The bleeding can be minor, considering the wound is a deep puncture wound that rarely bleeds a lot, but can also be severe. If you have torn edge, put adequate pressure to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding stops, check for other symptoms to determine whether or not you need to see a doctor. If you do not experience any severe symptoms, you can proceed to self-care at home.
Clean the bite site
Cleaning the wound is essential in order to prevent the risk of infection and scarring. Wash the wound with large amount of water for 5 minutes. You can use mild soap to clean the wound. Irrigating the wound will be effective if the cat bite results in a puncture wound instead of gapped wound. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to clean a cat bite wound as it damages the tissues and delays healing.
If the wound is gapped, you will need to use stitches, staples, or sutures to provide a closure. However, puncture wound is rarely closed, as it is prone to infection from left bacteria inside the wound. If your bite wound is closed by stitches, it is important to see the doctor at the appointed time to have the sutures removed properly.
If you are suffering from torn skin resulted from cat bite, you can dress the wound with breathable dressing. This is important, as it will prevent external dirt and bacteria from infesting the wound. Before applying the bandage, apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to promote faster healing as well as to prevent the bandage from sticking onto the wound. To replace stitches, you can use butterfly bandages to close the wound.
Watch for infection signs
During the healing time, it is important to watch for signs of infection, or signs of developed diseases from cat bites. You can also determine whether or not you need a tetanus shot. The doctor can help you determining this necessity.
Although cat bites does not trigger big wound and severe bleeding, it is still very painful. The bite site may also swell and thus, seem as inflamed redness. To reduce the pain and discomfort, you can apply a cold pack over the bite site after wrapping the cold pack with a towel or cloth. While applying the cold pack, elevate the wound above the heart rate to decrease the throbbing sensation.