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General Hands

Dealing with Animal Bites and the Hand

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Animal bites are very common in humans, and they often occur on the hands. Thats because people may be reaching toward the animal or holding out their hands in defense. These bites are painful and they often lead to infection because of bacteria found in the animals mouth. Complications from this type of infection can be very minor, resulting in just discomfort, but they can also be very serious, to the point that they are life threatening.

Every year, millions of people in the United States are bitten by dogs, cats, rodents, rabbits, monkeys, and ferrets. Of course, the vast majority of these are dog bites, specifically.

The Problem with Animal Bites

When animal bites occur in the hand or fingers, the wound itself is usually not that bad. However, there is a high risk of infection. In fact, the infection can be so bad that it could lead to hospitalization and does in about 1% of people who have been bitten by dogs and 6% of people who have been bitten by cats.

When it comes to animal bites, there could be a risk for rabies infection, but this is fairly rare. However, no matter what, if you have been bitten by an animal other than your own pet, you will need to report this bit to the health department. The animal will need to be tracked down.

The Problem of Human Bites

Human bites are, in essence, more dangerous than animal bites. Thats because humans have more bacteria in their mouth and this puts the bitten individual at high risk. Human bites can occur in different ways, including children biting people or broken skin that occurs during a fistfight.

Signs That a Bite Is Infected

Redness and swelling from a bite to the hand or fingers should only last about 24 hours. Symptoms of an infection include:

  • Swelling
  • Red Streaks Extending from the Bite
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes in the Arm
  • Pus in the Bite Wound
  • Loss of Sensation in the Hand or Fingers
  • Fever

Treatment of the Bite

If you have been bitten by an animal or human, it is a good idea to seek help from a physician. If it is showing signs of infection, then you definitely need to make an appointment. The hand will be examined and then cleansed carefully. The doctor may need to remove any dead skin from the wound. You will be given antibiotics, either in oral or intravenous form, to stop any infection. You will need to continue with follow up appointments to ensure the infection is being managed and is diminishing.

Animal and human bites can be very dangerous, leading to infection that can spread quickly. If not controlled, this could lead to permanent damage or even loss of part of the hand. If the infection spreads, then this could even lead to other medical problems throughout the body. So, if you have been bitten by an animal or a human, you will need to visit a physician as soon as possible.


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Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.