First hour after a dog bite crucial; follow first aid tips at the earliest

Representational Image
Representational Image

The adherence to the ‘golden hour’ principle augurs well in the cases of dog bites too. Studies show that if one follows the must-do things in the first hour after a dog bit, the chances of contracting deadly rabies will diminish by 80 per cent.

The first-aid measures for dog bites should be completed in the initial hour. It is crucial to wash the bite area with soap and water. Upon a dog bite, one should go to the nearest tap without wasting time. Open the tap fully and clean the wound with soap for a minimum of 15 minutes. If soap is unavailable, at least you should wash the bite area with water.

For hole-shaped wounds, one should jet water inside them in full force. The soap molecules will disrupt the external layer or coat surrounding the virus. Once the wound is washed, it should be neatly cleaned with an iodine or alcohol solution.

Vaccination, especially the first dose, should be taken at the earliest as per the doctor’s advice. Vaccines will save lives for sure. It's crucial to take the first vaccination dose before the virus enters the body and affects the nervous system. Immunoglobulin injections should also be administered based on the doctor’s advice.

Usually, a wound needs to be stitched up, but if you suffer the bite of a rabies-infected dog, you should leave the wound open. If the injury is big, one can use secondary suturing under the doctor's direction after a specific period.

The continuous deaths due to rabies have put a question mark over the efficacy of this batch of vaccines. But it doesn’t mean vaccines are ineffective.

We know that any lapses in the manufacture, purification, handling, and storing of vaccines will reduce their efficacy. If the issues regarding the vaccines are addressed, and simultaneously the golden practices in the ‘golden hour’ are strictly followed in all dog bite cases, rabies can be eliminated.

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