Bites from sharp, pointed teeth cause deep puncture wounds. This
can damage tissues and let germs into the skin, so you need to
treat any bite that breaks the skin, to stop it getting
One infection someone might get from an animal bite is rabies,
which is a serious viral infection that attacks the brain and
nervous system. If an infected animal bites a human, they will pass
on the virus, through their saliva.
Almost all cases of rabies happen abroad. If someone hasn’t been
vaccinated, then rabies is nearly always fatal, so you need to send
the casualty to hospital straight away.
Tetanus (a bacterial infection) is also a potential risk
after an animal bite.
What you need to do - Animal bites
• Wash the wound from the bite thoroughly with soap and
warm water. This will reduce the risk of infection from an animal
• Raise and support the wound and pat it dry, preferably
with clean gauze from your first aid kit. Then cover it with a
sterile wound dressing.
• If the wound is large or deep, then treat for bleeding and call 999/112 for an
• If you think there’s a risk of rabies, then you need to
get them to hospital as fast as you can.
• If the wound is dirty or they’re not sure if there if
they’ve had a tetanus jab, then tell them to see their doctor.
If the bite is from another human, there’s also a small risk of
getting hepatitis or HIV/AIDS viruses. This is much more unlikely
but they should still see a doctor, in case.