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Beware of Dog Bites
Date:5/17/2009

Experts offer advice on how to avoid being attacked

SUNDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) --They can be cute and cuddly, but even friendly dogs can be unpredictable, warns the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

Some 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One in five bites requires medical attention. In 2006, more than 31,000 people had to have reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten.

Children are particularly at risk. Among children, the rate of dog bite injuries is highest for those aged 5 to 9. Children are more likely than adults to receive medical attention for dog bites than adults.

"Most dogs are friendly, with no intentions to cause harm to anyone, said ACEP President Dr. Nick Jouriles. "But sometimes, they act aggressively toward strangers for a variety of reasons."

How can dog bites be prevented?

  • Avoid unfamiliar dogs or any dogs acting strangely. Just stay away from them if you can.
  • Don't run from, scream at or startle a dog.
  • Remain motionless if approached by an unfamiliar, possibly threatening dog.
  • If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball, lie still and cover your head if possible.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
  • Don't bother a dog if it's sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Don't pet an unknown dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
  • Talk to your kids about this information, and make sure they understand the dangers before they go out and play.

What do you do if you are bitten?

  • Tell children to immediately inform an adult and seek medical attention.
  • If bleeding, put pressure on the wound and clean the area with running water.
  • If you develop a fever or other signs of infection, such as swelling, redn
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