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Bat Bite: Do Bats Bite & Rabies

May 25, 2017
Large-eared bat with big opned mouth on the black.

Bats, like any other ordinary creature, are afraid of the human existence around them. Generally, they do not launch an attack on any person around them. They try to stay away from the human beings as much as possible. Usually, they are not an offensive animal; hence the chance of attacking the human or the animal life is very low. The impression, the bats bite when any human being comes closer is the aftermath of the misperception. The species bites when they feel threatened and try to use this habit as a defense. The victims of the bat bite state that they were trying to pick the bat or detach it from the tree or they were trying to have a closer look at the young bats when the mother bit them hard. Hence, the bat bite is not something that happens often, but when it happens, it needs medical attention immediately.

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Bat bite identification

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There are two ways to identify the bat bite: with visual signs and with physiological or non-visible signs.

Visible signs: If any human being thinks while outside in the dark or at night he was bitten hard by the bats then there are numerous ways to identify if it happened? Before getting the treatment, it is important to self-judge what has bitten you. The bat bite is not something which is difficult to see. If a bat has bitten, the wound would appear as two small puncture wounds separated from each other by a distance of almost one centimeter. The distance can be more or less depending on the species and refers to the distance between the teeth. It is followed by an irritation on the affected area. The bitten area feels numb or extreme pain. Severe irritation is also the sign that bats have bitten the subject. They are very much like the bites of the spiders or the bees; hence a vigilant detection of signs is imperative.

Non-visual signs: The bats can transmit rabies through their saliva. Once bitten by the bat, the signs of the rabies virus become gradually visible on the subject. Initially, it comes with the flu, followed by disturbed neurological signs.

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Bat bite symptoms

As the bat bites are difficult to identify, hence before the situation gets out of hands, it is important to study all the signs very well. Have a close look at the symptoms. These symptoms can be distracting and confusing in many cases as these won’t be much different from the typical flu, fever, and cold. As the time passes, the signs become closer to those of rabies.

The infection develops in less than a couple of days and can take a maximum of 60 days to cure. In this period the patient suffers from varying conditions ranging from as simple as flu and as complicated as paralysis. As the animal bites and the wound appear, the patient is likely to experience irritation in the bitten area. Continuous itching, shooting pain and a tingling feeling persists in the wound. As the days pass on the symptoms transform into a high fever, muscular pain, and irritability. In early days it’s hard to differentiate them from the common fever signs. If the symptoms are not taken seriously, the worst conditions will occur in the shape of psychological problems. Sometimes the situation leads to coma.

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Breathing problems due to irregular muscular contractions of the respiratory canal are also one of the symptoms. If the symptoms are not cured in time, grave consequences can be faced causing a threat to life.

First aid and regular treatment

Like many other dangerous animal bites, the bat bite can be a real danger too. Their saliva has harmful parasites that can transmit serious illnesses into human blood stream like rabies. Thus, once it is confirmed that a bat bit the subject, it is important to look for the instant first aid. Delaying the treatment means, opening doors to life-threatening situations. The danger can also arise when the droppings are inhaled accidently.

To treat a wound, the person giving the treatment must also take all necessary precautions. Cover all the parts that are going to be in touch with the wound. Use gloves, and mask to stay away from the risk of catching the viral infections from the wound. Once done carry out the steps in the following manner:

  • Wash the wound to clean it thoroughly. Use clean water and soap to do the procedure gently. This will remove the dust and other unnecessary materials that are covering the wound.
  • Have a look at a depth of the wound. Torn skin and deep cuts have to be dealt with very carefully. If the wound is bleeding heavily, try to control it by pressurizing the blood vessels in the wounded area. This will help prevent the blood loss.
  • Don’t treat the wound clumsily. After treating it with the necessary first aid, it is better to get the treatment from the related medical practitioner for proper medical assistance.

If the bat carries rabies, and the patient comes with the symptoms of rabies the following treatments are conducted:

  • Inject human rabies immune globulin (or HRIG). This is injected just once and is said to be effective against rabies.
  • Vaccination series against rabies

 How to prevent bat bites

Bats are non-volatile animals. They do not attack any human being without any reason. Thus, to avoid the bat bites, you have to be vigilant. Bats usually prefer staying in isolated areas like the caves or the rooms and attics not in use for a long time. Before going into congested dark area where the traces of bats were found, it is better to keep a flashlight with you. The more illuminated are your surroundings, the better it is for your safety.

Don’t try to bother bats during their hibernation time. Don’t enter into a skirmish with a bat that is hanging peacefully. Trying to separate them can make them angry also. They will show the resultant anger by biting the enemy.

Avoid going closer to the nest with young pups. This will challenge the motherhood, and she will be forced to protect her young ones. The first weapon of her defense is her teeth.

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Bats and rabies

  • How do you know if bats carries rabies

3D illustration of a rabies virus.Rabies is not something that can be seen or felt by merely looking at the subject. The basic diagnosis of rabies is possible under the controlled laboratory condition. The bats that are more active at the daytime unlike the regular bats can be considered as rabid. A rabid bat invades a place which is rarely visited by the other bats. Over a period they get lethargic and so it’s difficult for them to fly around. These are the apparent signs to find out if the bat around is a rabid or not.

No matter how perfect your guess is about the rabid bat, don’t take up the challenge to control them or get hold of them. The results can be tormenting for your life.

  • Treatment for rabies

To get a proper treatment of rabies, it is necessary to find out if the animal that has bitten has rabies too. This makes easier to deal with the disease after the animal is scanned and confirmed for rabies. If the animal is not found, that is something most likely to happen in the case of bats; it is better to take the precautionary measure by assuming that animal carried rabies. The most common treatment of rabies includes shots. The subject receives a series of shots after regular intervals or just once to fight the viruses that are helping in the development of rabies within the body of the affected patient.

The treatment includes two major courses of action:

  • A quick shot of rabies immune globulin is given immediately to check the development of the virus. This immune globulin is injected soon after the bite happens. According to the condition of the wound, a little portion of the medicine is injected around the wounded area.
  • The second alternative is to get vaccinated. A series of four vaccinations is shot into the body in 14 days. As the vaccine starts working in the body, it fights back the rabies virus to spread vigorously in the body.
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