I’ve Been Bitten. Now What?

Men's Health |

Use this quick guide to see if you need meds

Pets are loads of furry fun – until one of them impales you with its incisors. Worst case, some bites will require antibiotics, says Dr Itzhak Brook, an infectious-diseases specialist at Georgetown University. Our guide can help you figure out if you need meds. First, wash the wound for five minutes. Then rinse it, pat it dry, and bandage it. If the bite bleeds longer than 10 minutes, is near a joint or bone, or is on your face or head, go to a hospital ER.

If you haven’t had a tetanus booster in the past five years, ask for one. If the attack was unprovoked or the animal was foaming at the mouth, you’ll likely need the rabies vaccine. Regardless, the bite should be reported and the animal observed for 10 days; if the animal shows no signs of rabies, you’re okay. Since they live in cages and don’t come in contact with other animals, hamsters and guinea pigs rarely carry rabies.

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