What to Do If You Are Bitten By a Raccoon

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There’s no way around it – you have to go to the hospital immediately.

If the raccoon has rabies, any contact to its saliva exposes you to the disease. Rabies is transmitted through saliva, and you can even get it through the scratch of a rabid animal, not only through its bite (the claw might have saliva on it).

Even if you are somehow completely positive that the raccoon that bit you is healthy, you should still seek out medical attention. Medics will be able to provide local treatment of the wound, and they will administer PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), the vaccine used after being exposed to a raccoon’s bite or scratch.

Rabies is a treatable viral disease, but it will kill you if you don’t get vaccinated. Symptoms of rabies may include anxiety or agitation, headaches, fever, feeling of discomfort, trouble drinking water, an itching or prickling sensation on the wound, hypersensitivity to light, insomnia, and fatigue.

Raccoons are amusing to watch and pretty darn cute, but they’re truly a pest and a health hazard. Please, don’t engage them. Don’t initiate contact with raccoons, and never feed them or offer them nesting conditions.

Keep your distance from raccoons, and keep them at a distance from your property. You can prevent raccoons from accessing your property by eliminating any possible food sources they might be able to get to. This means securing the lid on your garbage cans so that they can’t get inside or open the lid by tipping over the garbage can, keeping pet food indoors, and picking up any nuts and fruits that may be laying on the ground. Don’t give a raccoon the chance to den on your property by capping your chimney, sealing any possible entry points to your attic, and securing your shed and porch with a fence. If you’ve already taken all these measures, and still have a raccoon on your property, call a wildlife removal professional to come and trap the animal. They will usually be able to asses why the raccoon keeps appearing even over the phone, and come that day, if not the next, equipped with all they need to trap and remove the animal.

Taking preventive measures that minimize the chances of having contact with a raccoon is always a smart move, but again, if you’ve been bitten or scratched by one of these animals, go to the hospital as soon as possible to get vaccinated.

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