Bat bites typically look like a needle prick that fades within thirty minutes. Initially, prickling, itching, or tingling around the bite area will occur.
Bats have long been associated with fictional vampires, making people envision a bat bite as something similar to fang marks. However, bat teeth are tiny and sharp and might not leave any mark.
However, if they do, a bat bite will closely look like a pinprick, and you should always seek medical assistance if bitten. So, what does a bat bite look like, does it hurt, and what should you do if bitten?
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Can a bat bite you?
Bats can occasionally scratch or bite humans, especially when they feel threatened or provoked. However, they’re animals that instinctively avoid human interaction unless they defend themselves.
Despite baring teeth and squeaking loudly, bats are not as vicious as they seem.
A significant concern is that bat bites are one of the leading causes of rabies-related deaths in countries such as Australia. The Lyssavirus is usually carried via a bat’s scratches and bites.
At the moment, there is not a true cure for rabies contracted from bats. For this reason, never attempt to handle or capture a bat without proper protection.
What happens if a bat bites you?
Bats are one of the prominent wild animals that pass on rabies to human beings.
The disease is usually transmitted via a bite but can also be contracted when a rabid bat contacts your eyes, fresh wound, or nose. However, in the United States, rabies is contracted mostly from foxes, coyotes, bats, skunks, and raccoons.
Rabies is a stealthy virus that damages the central nervous system.
After the initial infection, it usually takes up to three months for the flu-like symptoms to start. Bat bites can be life-threatening without proper treatment if the pest is rabid.
You might not feel anything after the bite, as bats have tiny teeth. Most bat bites that happen when individuals are primarily asleep go unnoticed.
The marks from the bite also fade fast, usually within half an hour. The difficulty in detecting a bat bite is all the more reason to be cautious, especially in areas with a known bat infestation, such as Illinois.
Can you feel if a bat bites you?
Bats have sharp, tiny teeth; if conscious and awake, you’ll definitely feel a bat bite since they feel like sharp needle jabs. Most victims commonly know when a bat has bitten them.
Bats will probably get into your home or property for roosting, especially during the cold winter.
What does a bat bite look like?
As previously mentioned, bat bites usually look like needle pricks that fade within thirty minutes.
First, prickling, itching, or tingling around the bite area can occur. Besides, you could also have flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, nausea, tiredness, loss of appetite, headache, and fever.
After several days neurological signs may develop, and they could include aggressiveness or irritability.
Should I be worried about a bat bite?
If you suspect or know that a bat has bitten you, you should wash the wound thoroughly with water and soap and seek medical attention instantly.
If possible, try and catch the bat safely so it can be sent to the laboratory and rabies testing. The risk of rabies in bats is very high, as they’re the leading cause of rabies death in the U.S.
Bats are also linked to other infectious diseases well known in the public health domain.
Rabid bats are present in all forty-nine states, and only Hawaii is rabies-free. Fortunately, a rabies vaccine contains inactivated rabies virus known as the HDCV vaccine.
What are the chances of getting rabies from a bat bite?
It’s important to note that not all bats carry rabies. In fact, all mammals can carry and contract rabies; however, bats are not asymptomatic carriers.
Bats normally contract rabies far less compared to other animals. Less than half of the one percent of all bats may contract rabies.
So, bats can have rabies, but it is scarce for that to affect human beings. The chances of contracting a case of rabies from bats are minimal, with only a single or two cases of rabies annually in the U.S.
However, bats are the primary source of human rabies in America.
How do I know if I need anti-rabies?
Rabies prevention is essential. Once you have come into direct contact with the infected animal, rabies exposure is almost imminent, and you should seek immediate medical attention.
If you contract rabies and you’re not treated, you will surely die a dreadful death. Bats are a public health risk that shouldn’t be ignored, despite minimal human cases.
Therefore, if a bat has bitten you, contact a health professional immediately for advice and post-exposure treatment. So, watch out for animal bites to avoid the risk of rabies and always look for ways to eradicate bats in your home.
Treatment for bat bites or scratches
It is absolutely vital to get proper treatment after a bat bite or scratches, even if you’ve already been vaccinated. The appropriate first aid treatment includes:
Washing the bite spot with soap and water to immediately kill the viruses that could have been introduced through the rabies exposure.
After you’ve washed the wound, apply an antiseptic such as Betadine or ethanol (alcohol)
Visit a health professional to get treated with rabies immunoglobulin. This injection offers extra protection against the Lyssavirus if you’ve not previously been vaccinated.
Get four doses or five if you have a weak immune system of the rabies vaccine on the initial exposure day and the following days: 3, 7, and 14 if you’ve not been previously immunized.
If you’ve been immunized previously, you’ll only be given two doses of rabies vaccine on the initial and third days.