What To Do If You Suffer A Rat Bite

Being bitten by a rat is painful and unpleasant. Signs and symptoms include redness, swelling, bleeding, weeping and altered sensation. After a few hours there may start to be signs of infection with worsening redness, inflammation and weeping. If these signs appear you may need antibiotics from your doctor.  Flucloxacillin is commonly used for skin infections. Augmentin may be used for rat bites as it has a broad spectrum of activity. It is a combination of clavulonic acid and amoxicillin.  

What To Do If You Suffer A Rat Bite

What To Do If You Suffer A Rat Bite

Bleeding from a bite should be controlled with pressure using a clean cloth or gauze. Wounds should be washed with a sterile liquid to reduce the risk of infection. 

The saliva of some rats carries Hantavirus and leptospirosis. These are dangerous diseases worth avoiding. Occasionally victims may develop rat-bite fever. The wounds are at risk from tetanus and those who are not covered by immunization should seek medical attention. 

If you are bitten by a pet rat you are very unlikely to catch a disease but you could still get a localised infection. If they have been born and brought up in a domestic situation then they are unlikely to be carrying any dangerous diseases. This is not the case for a wild rat. If you are bitten by one of these then the chance of catching something nasty is much higher and you should definetely seek medical follow up. Any rat bite could become infected and signs of infections should be followed up. 

There is no evidence that a rat bite has ever passed on rabies, despite popular belief. 

This article does not constitute medical advice and is not a substitute for medical consultation. 

Dr Toby Bateson for Hammer Technologies Ltd