Administer First Aid
If an animal bites you, breaking the skin:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before tending to the wound. Wash hands afterwards, too.
- If bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound with a clean, dry cloth until the bleeding stops. Keep the bite area raised up (elevated) to slow bleeding and keep swelling down.
- Once bleeding stops, wash the wound thoroughly with mild soap and running water for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Cover the bite with antibiotic ointment and a sterile bandage.
- Call your health care provider and follow the advice they give you.
- Over the next 24 to 48 hours, keep a close eye on the area surrounding the bite.
- If you see signs of an infection - skin redness, swelling, or pain - call your health care provider or have the wound examined at an emergency medical center.
- Your health care provider may prescribe antibiotics or give you a tetanus booster shot (if it's been awhile since you had one).
Health Care Providers
See DHEC and CDC guidance on post-exposure medical treatment for rabies.