By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute
Bite-wounds from cats, dogs and humans are not rare and the risk for infection is large. Bite-wounds in the hand or deep bites are especially dangerous and if this happens, you should call your doctor immediately. Wash other bite-wounds thoroughly with soap.
Most children pat and play with animals without any problems. However, a bite from a dog, a cat or a human are not rare. There are many different bacteria in the oral cavity of animals and humans, and they can transfer to the child when bitten. There is a risk for infection if the bite penetrates the skin and it bleeds.
Around 50 % of all children, a cat, a dog, bites develops an infection in the wound. If the child is bitten in the hand or if the bite wound is deep into the skin there is a high risk for infection. Even though there is no sign of infection, it is recommended that the child start treatment with penicillin immediately.
The infection will appear a couple of days after the child was bit. There is warmth, reddening, swelling and soreness. There can appear boils around the bite-wound. In some cases of infection, there will be red marks around the wound, the child’s lymph nodes raises and the child gets a fever. If the child was bitten in the hand, the infection can appear as follows:
After a couple of days, there will be warmth, reddening, swelling and soreness around the wound. It looks like the child has drawn on her arm with a red pen. The child complains about a sore armpit and you can feel pea-sized sore lymph nodes. Finally, the child gets a fever and generally feels ill.
You should treat with penicillin if there is an infection in the bite-wound.