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Rabies: Signs, Treatment & How To Prevent Animal Bites

Below we discuss the signs, treatments, and prevention tips for rabies.

Rabies: Signs, Treatment & How To Prevent Animal Bites

If traveling to regions where rabies is more common, take extra precautions

Rabies is a viral disease that primarily affects mammals, including humans. It is caused by the rabies virus and is usually transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal. The virus affects the central nervous system, leading to inflammation of the brain and eventually death if left untreated. Read on as we discuss the signs, treatments, and prevention tips for rabies.

Signs

1. Flu-like symptoms



Initially, the infected person may experience fever, headache, fatigue, and discomfort at the site of infection.

2. Anxiety and agitation



As the virus progresses, individuals may develop anxiety, irritability, and a fear of water (known as hydrophobia).

3. Neurological symptoms

Patients may exhibit unusual behaviour, confusion, hallucinations, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, muscle weakness, seizures, and ultimately paralysis.

It's crucial to note that not all symptoms occur in every case of rabies, and early signs can be non-specific, resembling other illnesses.

Since there is no known cure for rabies once symptoms appear, treatment options are limited. However, there are two crucial steps to consider.

Treatment

If bitten by an animal suspected of having rabies, it's essential to wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water for at least 15 minutes. Applying an antiseptic like iodine or alcohol can further help reduce the virus's spread. Seeking medical attention promptly is crucial. Besides this, if someone is bitten by an animal that may be infected with rabies, they should receive a series of injections to prevent the virus from spreading.

Preventing exposure to rabies is key. Below we list some easy preventive tips to follow.

Prevention

1. Vaccinate your pets

Ensure that your pets, including dogs and cats, are up to date with their rabies vaccination. This not only protects them from contracting rabies but also prevents them from becoming carriers and passing it on to humans.

2. Avoid contact with stray animals

Stray animals, especially those exhibiting unusual behaviour, may potentially carry rabies. It is advisable to avoid approaching or handling stray animals to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus.

3. Secure garbage and food sources

Keep garbage cans tightly sealed and avoid leaving food outside as it can attract animals, including potentially rabid ones. By eliminating these attractants, you can reduce the chances of encounters with infected animals.

4. Wildlife precautions

Do not approach or attempt to handle wild animals, even if they appear friendly. Many wild animals, such as raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes, can carry rabies without showing obvious signs of infection.

5. Protect your home

Seal off any potential entry points in your home, such as gaps in walls, attics, or chimneys, which may allow animals to enter. This reduces the risk of encountering rabid animals in your living space.

6. Supervise children

Teach children to avoid approaching unfamiliar animals, stray or wild. Supervise them closely, especially when they are playing outdoors, to prevent contact with potentially infected animals.

7. Travel precautions

If traveling to regions where rabies is more common, take extra precautions. Avoid contact with animals and consider pre-exposure vaccination if necessary.

Prevention is better than cure. Make sure to keep these tips in mind to lower the risk of rabies and animal bites.


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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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