When someone is bitten by a dog, there is a risk he or she could develop the dangerous bacterial skin infection cellulitis. Cellulitis occurs when bacteria enters through a crack or puncture in the skin, such as with a dog bite. Early treatment is critical to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the body.

Skin on the lower legs is the most common site for cellulitis, but it can occur on other parts of a person’s face or body. People with the following medical conditions are more likely to develop cellulitis:

  • Weakened immune system. A person suffering from diabetes, leukemia, or HIV is more susceptible to getting cellulitis. Taking steroids and other medications that weaken the immune system can also increase the risk of developing this infection.
  • Obesity. Being extremely overweight is a risk factor for cellulitis and can cause repeated episodes of this infection.

Knowing the Warning Signs of Cellulitis Is the Key to Early Treatment

It is important to know the warning signs that a dog bite has caused cellulitis, because it can be a fast-spreading infection. Symptoms that a person has this infection include:

  • Red area of the skin that expands out
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Warmth
  • Fever
  • Red spots
  • Blisters
  • Skin dimpling
  • Leaking of yellow or clear fluid or pus

Cellulitis is generally diagnosed through a doctor’s examination of the dog bite site. However, sometimes blood tests or a wound culture are needed. Treatment of cellulitis usually involves taking antibiotics for five to fourteen days. A person with a serious cellulitis infection could be hospitalized. If untreated, the infection can spread rapidly and reach the blood stream and internal organs, causing a serious life-threatening condition. That is why early treatment is so critical.

Even if a dog bite victim gets treatment early, he or she will incur medical bills and could need to take time off work to recover. Fortunately, he or she may be entitled to compensation from the dog’s owner.

Have you been bitten by a dog? Was your child bitten by a dog? If so, start an online chat or call us at 800-989-6385 to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982