What Do I Do If A Squirrel Bite Me?
If you’re ever in the forest or backyard, you may have experienced a squirrel bite at some point. These little red dots are harmless, but if they get infected, they can be painful to touch. If you feel a sharp pain in the bite, visit a doctor. You should not wait until the squirrel bite is infected to get treatment, however. You can find out more about the symptoms of rabies, tularemia, and typhus by reading this article.
Symptoms of rabies
Although most of the time, a squirrel will not transfer rabies to humans, it is possible to contract the disease if it bites a human. Early symptoms of rabies include a high temperature, headache, weakness, and frustration. Left untreated, these symptoms can worsen and lead to paralysis, confusion, and even death. Washing the area where a squirrel bit you is the first step to treating the infection. In more severe cases, the animal may be infected with the disease and its symptoms may include trembling, confusion, paralysis, and even coma.
Once bitten, a squirrel will scratch or itch the skin, and an infection can develop. Infected people should visit a doctor immediately. There may be a slight pain and redness in the area. Infected areas may develop pus and inflammation. Those signs do not mean that you need a shot, but it is important to visit a medical professional for treatment.
Symptoms of tularemia
The Oregon State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory recently confirmed the death of the Corvallis squirrel from tularemia. This bacterial disease, sometimes called rabbit fever, is usually found in small mammals, but can occasionally infect humans. Hunters have acquired tularemia by handling the infected animal’s blood or eating undercooked meat. Tularemia is also spread through tick bites from biting flies.
Treatment for tularemia is effective, but the outlook is uncertain. Although a healthy person will recover after treatment, some people will recur. If you notice any of these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible. Delaying treatment may worsen the symptoms of tularemia. In severe cases, a doctor may refer you to a specialized infectious disease clinic to treat the infection.
Tularemia is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans by interacting with dead or ill animals. It results in skin ulceration, a fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment for tularemia involves antibiotics and hydration. Patients will typically recover with supportive care. Depending on the severity of their symptoms, treatment may include a course of antibiotics.
Symptoms of typhus
If you have recently been bitten by a squirrel, you might be wondering if you’re at risk for contracting a disease. Although the chances of catching a squirrel-transmitted disease are slim, they do exist. These diseases include salmonella, tularemia, and leptospirosis. It’s also possible to contract a parasitic infection, known as roundworm. If you do catch a squirrel-transmitted disease, the symptoms of tularemia may be similar to those of salmonella.
Although the initial symptoms of epidemic typhus are similar to those of other diseases, some people may experience milder versions of the disease. The first signs of this disease are fever and chills, and the infection may be accompanied by myalgia. After four to six days, a petechial rash may appear on the upper body, except for the face. Typically, the disease will last for 2 weeks.
While squirrel bites aren’t dangerous most of the time, they can cause infection. The bacteria that live on squirrels’ bodies are passed from the animal to humans through contact with their urine. Symptoms of leptospirosis include fever, diarrhea, changes in urination frequency, yellowing of the skin, and reluctance to move. If you notice any of these symptoms, call a veterinarian as soon as possible.
The first step in treating a squirrel bite is to keep it clean. The wound should be washed thoroughly to prevent infection. Although the bite is generally not severe, the area should be kept clean and covered to reduce the risk of infection. If the wound is infected, take it to the hospital for an exam. There’s a very slim chance that you’ll contract disease from the animal, but it’s still recommended to get it checked out to make sure you’re not suffering from an infection.
Jessica Watson is a PHD holder from the University of Washington. She studied behavior and interaction between squirrels and has presented her research in several wildlife conferences including TWS Annual Conference in Winnipeg.