How to Treat a Bat Bite

By: Contributors

Bats can carry diseases that they can transmit to humans through their droppings and their bites [source: Illinois]. Although some doctors feel that extreme caution must be taken to avoid contact with bats because of the likelihood that bats are infected with rabies [source: Medline Plus], others feel that most bats are not infected [source: CDC]. If a bat bites you, it's important to treat the bite right away. Here's how to treat a bat bite:

  • Wash all bites from any mammal with soap and water [source: University of Iowa].
  • Apply pressure to stop any bleeding if the skin is torn [source: University of Iowa].
  • Try to figure out if the bat had rabies. The only sure way to know if an animal is infected with rabies is by finding the virus in the brain after the animal is dead. Some out of the ordinary behaviors are observable in live bats infected with rabies. They may seem docile, and won't flee from humans even in the nighttime if they have rabies. On the contrary, if the bat seems furious and made a vicious attack without provocation, it could have the disease as well. In some cases, the animal will have excessive saliva and foam at the mouth. Even if you're not sure if the bat had rabies, it's best to go to the hospital for treatment [source: WSU]. Some doctors feel that just seeing a bat in your house warrants receiving a rabies vaccination [source: Medline Plus]. People who have been vaccinated for rabies will need two more injections of the vaccine in the muscle around the wound. People who have never been vaccinated will need to have the inside of the wound treated with the Human Rabies Immunoglobulin antibody and five vaccine shots must be injected into the surrounding muscle [source: WSU]. //]]]]> ]]>