Apropos of my recent article on minor emergencies, I was chosen to have my own minor emergency last week. I was bitten by a dog. My dog. I won’t go into the exciting details of why it happened, but rather, what I learned afterward.
In Israel, in 2015, there were a reported 1,737 bites (out of ~400,000 registered dogs) according to the veterinary authority of the Ministry of Agriculture. It seems there are approximately 1,700 reported dog bites per year.
When I arrived at Terem, the EMT took a look at a puncture wound and said: “looks like stitches.” This did not make me happy. It’s one thing to take my children to be stitched; it’s quite another for me to have stitches.
However, I soon learned the current protocol, also recommended by the Ministry of Health:
- The patient should wash the wound thoroughly with water and clean with alcohol several times in the hours after the bite.
- Unless crucial, the wound should not be stitched or glued (hello, tiny wrist scar), but rather left open to allow for pathogens to leave the blood stream.
- The patient should be administered a tetanus shot (פלצת in Hebrew) right away. [This hurt! For a week afterward!]
- The patient should be given broad spectrum antibiotics [don’t forget to take your probiotics during this time period].
- If there is any suspicion about the dog, the patient should receive rabies shots (כלבת). Thank goodness our dog is fully immunized.
- The patient should report the bite to the Ministry of Health office the next day. [Whoops. Didn’t even occur to me and the doctor didn’t say anything.]
In the end, it was a minor incident, with only a sore arm, wrist, and upset tummy as reminders.