After getting bitten by a dog, your immediate concerns are likely the bite wound itself and the possibility of rabies. Unfortunately, this means not enough people seek medical attention if the wound does not “look” severe, or if the victim knows the dog and understands they have their vaccines.
There is another risk that vaccines cannot prevent, however. It is also one of the biggest risks you face after a bite: the risk of infection.
Initial and secondary symptoms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discuss the impact that infections can have on your overall health. An infection can easily cause you more mild effects, which is often the tip-off that something is wrong. These effects often start within hours or days and may include redness, swelling and pain at the site of the bite. The bite may also drain fluids or pus.
Over time, more severe reactions may begin to occur. This can include fever, nausea, confusion, headache, diarrhea and cramps. The victim may experience muscle soreness or fatigue at this point, too. These symptoms may occur at any time between 1 and 14 days after the initial attack. In other words, do not think you are out of the woods because a week or so goes by with no issue.
The most severe problems will often occur if a victim continues to refuse treatment. They may experience gangrene and necrosis in the bite area. This can even lead to amputation. On top of that, victims may suffer from liver failure or even heart attacks. Finally, sepsis may occur, which is an infection of the blood that can prove fatal in 72 hours or less. Needless to say, you want to get immediate medical treatment to avoid these possibilities.