Information for Patients
Wild animals usually avoid people. They might attack, however, if they feel threatened, are sick, or are protecting their young or territory. Attacks by pets are more common. Animal bites rarely are life-threatening, but if they become infected, you can develop serious medical problems.
To prevent animal bites and complications from bites
- Never pet, handle, or feed unknown animals
- Leave snakes alone
- Watch your children closely around animals
- Vaccinate your cats, ferrets, and dogs against rabies
- Spay or neuter your dog to make it less aggressive
- Get a tetanus booster if you have not had one recently
- Wear boots and long pants when you are in areas with venomous snakes
If an animal bites you, clean the wound with soap and water as soon as possible. Get medical attention if necessary.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Insect Bites and Stings
Most insect bites are harmless, though they sometimes cause discomfort. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings and fire ant bites usually hurt. Mosquito and flea bites usually itch. Insects can also spread diseases. In the United States, some mosquitoes spread West Nile virus. Travelers outside the United States may be at risk for malaria and other infections.
To prevent insect bites and their complications
- Don't bother insects
- Use insect repellant
- Wear protective clothing
- Be careful when you eat outside because food attracts insects
- If you know you have severe allergic reactions to insect bites and stings (such as anaphylaxis), carry an emergency epinephrine kit