More than 4 million people are bitten by dogs each year in Maryland and around the country according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and almost a million of them are injured severely enough to require medical attention. Contracting rabies from a household pet is extremely unlikely in this day and age, but that does not mean dog bites can be ignored. If you are ever bitten by a dog, you should treat the wound as soon as possible and report the incident to the authorities.
Reporting dog bites
Every Maryland resident has a duty of care to do whatever they reasonably can to protect others from harm, which is why dog bites should always be reported to the authorities even if they do not seem particularly serious. A bite that causes pain but does not break the skin could catastrophically injure a child, and most dog bite victims are children.
Treating a dog bite
Children who are bitten by dogs should always be evaluated and treated by emergency room doctors, and adults who suffer serious injuries or have conditions like diabetes that compromise the immune system should also seek medical attention. Less serious dog bites can be treated at home by washing them thoroughly to remove bacteria and debris and then applying a bandage. The affected area should then be checked daily for signs of swelling and redness.
Dog bite victims are often reluctant to notify the authorities because they are worried about what will happen to the dog, and this is particularly true if the pet’s owner is a friend or relative. This is understandable, but reporting dog bites is a moral and legal obligation. Many dog bites can be treated at home by washing and dressing them carefully, but serious injuries or injuries to children should be treated by professionals.