When there is an infestation at home, you have to be cautious with the animals that are around you. One of the most common is mice or rat infestation, which can be pretty hazardous as these animals carry lots of diseases that can affect you and your family.
The way these animals can spread their diseases is by biting the human. Even though most of the rat bites are not always serious injuries, sometimes they can become in a problem when they get infected and give the condition named rat-bite fever.
Why do rats bite?
This question is critical as you need to know why these animals attack and how not to be their target. First, they have a strong sense of survival. They are going to bite or jump when they feel they have been cornered and do not have anywhere else to go. It is a good idea not to put your hand or finger inside one of their cages or whenever you encounter one try to avoid it and wear something that covers your whole body.
What does a rat bite look like?
Rat bites occur in many places or times. They can happen at nighttime or daylight. When you have been bitten by a rat, you can see the little dots as wounds in the place they have bitten you. It is a small puncture but can be painful and bleed as it swells a lot. It can become infected and be filled with pus or give you a particular condition that is related to these injuries that is rat-bite fever.
What are the symptoms of rat-bite fever?
As its name reflects, this disease starts after the bite has taken place. Many other animals like squirrels, cats, mice, among others can cause it, but it is not as common as with rats. You can see how the wound starts getting bigger and a rash starts to appear. Sometimes little bumps can be seen near the bite, or it can be flat without any of these lesions. The bruising may vary in colour, going from red to purple in most of the cases.
Even though it is one bite, there can be two different types of rat-bite fever because of the bacteria that causes it. One of them, the most common type that is seen through North America is the one associated with the streptobacillus moniliformis and the other one that is associated with spirillus minus that is mostly seen in Asia. Both have different symptoms that you have to know if something like this ever happens to you.
Streptobacillary rat-bite fever symptoms
This one is the most common and the one that heals faster. Also, you might feel some of these symptoms from 3 to 10 days. These symptoms are: fever, diarrhoea, skin turns red (rash), pain in your joints among others.
Spirillary rat-bite fever symptoms
These one is trickier than the other as you may seem to be healing but several symptoms may arise from one to three weeks after the bite has taken place. These can be: fever and chills, headache, ulcer at the wound and skin rash as with the streptobacillary, vomiting and sore throat, among others.
How can you treat a rat bite?
If this kind of situation happens to you, you need to act quickly. First, you need to find some soap and clean the wound with warm water and soap, this might help fight bacteria. After you have done that try to dry it using a clean piece of cloth or towel, then apply some ointment on it (an antibiotic ointment is preferred). Finally, cover it using a bandage, so it does not get any dirt.
Remember that having one of these bites can be dangerous, so you need to go to the doctor’s after you have done your best cleaning it. You might only see one bite, but they can turn into serious problems if they become infected.
A tetanus shot is recommended, and you may ask your doctor to give you one, specially if 5 years have passed from you last got one. If you do not remember when was your last shot, then you might get it too. The doctor may prescribe you with some antibiotics in order for an infection not to develop, so you can feel safe. Treating this fast is the best way to avoid other serious diseases such as pneumonia, pericarditis, meningitis, among others. They may be serious and life-threatening, so it is better for you to take care of them.
What is the outlook after a rat bite?
Rats can be friendly and be treated like pets, but remember that they can still be dangerous for you and for your family. Having one in your house, either wanted or not, may carry some serious consequences for the ones involved.
Whenever this issue arises, you may seek professional help right away. However, remember that preventing this happening is the best cure, so if you know that there is a rat infestation at home, do not take the risk and call a pest control service, so they can help you with this issue.
If you did not get help at the beginning of the infection it does not matter, you can be fine by taking some antibiotics that can help fight it, also, remember to follow your doctor’s advice and follow the prescription. Sometimes you may feel the pain in your joints or a slight fever but this is going to fade after a few days so do not worry about that.