Rabies

1 What is Rabies?

A deadly virus spread to people from the saliva of infected animals is called rabies and this is normally transmitted through a bite.

Animals are the ones who transmit rabies in the United States such as

  • coyotes,
  • bats,
  • skunks,
  • raccoons
  • and foxes.

Stray dogs are the ones who are spreading rabies to people in countries such as Southeast Asia and Africa. The disease is almost fatal once a person begins showing symptoms of rabies.

A person should receive rabies vaccines if he is at risk of contracting rabies.

2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of rabies are:

If you are bitten by an animal, go to emergency room as soon as possible. Your doctor will decide what treatments you should receive based on your injuries and even if you are not sure if you are bitten or not.

Streptococcus pyogenes is the bacteria responsible for strep throat. It is highly contagious and spread through air droplets, through shared foods and by infected objects.

3 Causes

Rabies virus is the cause of rabies infection by spreading the saliva of the infected animals to a person or by biting other animals.

Sometimes if the infected saliva gets into an open wound or eyes or mouth, the rabies will spread but it is a rare case.

The animals that are the most common to transmit the rabies virus include:

  • dogs,
  • cats,
  • cows,
  • ferrets,
  • horses,
  • goats,
  • beavers,
  • bats,
  • foxes,
  • coyotes,
  • raccoons,
  • monkeys,
  • woodchucks
  • and skunks. 

4 Making a Diagnosis

There is no way to know if the animal that bit you has transmitted the rabies to you so your doctor will recommend treatment after diagnosing you.

Go to the hospital once an animal bite you so your doctor can observe it.

Your doctor will ask:

  • What animal bit you?
  • Is it your pet or a wild animal?
  • Can you describe the animal’s behavior after it bit you?
  • Where you able to kill it or capture it?

What you can do while waiting is to wash your wounds gently with soap and water because it might be possible to wash away the virus.

Do not shot or blow the animal on the head because laboratory tests will be difficult to perform. 

5 Treatment

There is no specific treatment for rabies. This is life threatening but some people survived rabies infection.

Your doctor will recommend series of shots to prevent the infection from spreading. Your doctor will assume that the animal that bit you has rabies so that you can receive shots to prevent it from infecting you.

Rabies shots include:

  • rabies immune globulin – this is done by injecting you near the animal bite, for preventing the virus from infecting you;
  • a series of rabies vaccines – to fight the rabies virus, four injections in 14 days.

Sometimes your doctor will determine if the animal that bit you has rabies and the procedures for determining include:

  • pets and farm animals – dogs, ferrets and cats will be observed for 10 days to check for symptoms. If it remains healthy, it means it does not have rabies so you will not need rabies shots;
  • wild animals that can be caught – wild animals can be killed and tested for rabies by testing its brain, you will not be needing shots if it does not have rabies; talk to your doctor if the animal that bit you cannot be found, to make it safe he will give you rabies shots assuming that it has rabies.

6 Prevention

Rabies is a preventable disease.

Some of these tips can reduce your risk of coming in contact with rabid animals such as:

  • all your pets should be vaccinated,
  • keep your pets indoors and supervise them when going out,
  • if you have a small pet, put them inside a cage to be safe from wild animals because these small pets cannot be vaccinated against rabies,
  • avoid wild animals that are afraid of people,
  • if you see stray animals report it to your local animal control,
  • seal and gaps in your house where bats can get in,
  • have a rabies vaccine of you are travelling to a country where rabies is common.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Some of the homeopathic remedies for rabies include:

  • Belladonna – rabies with convulsive attack and difficulty in swallowing,
  • Lyssinum – if the person has a fear of water,
  • Cantharis – there is foam coming out of the mouth of the infected person,
  • Chamomilla – for sensitivity,
  • Tanacetum vulgare – for shortness of breath and abundant saliva secretion.

These homeopathic remedies should be taken with professional advice.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

To cope with rabies, it is imperative to consider it an emergency, and treat it as early as possible.

Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you have been bitten by an animal even if you think it does not have rabies.

Ask your doctor if you can have shots just to make sure that you will not be infected with rabies virus.

9 Risks and Complications

The risk factors of having rabies include:

  • living or travelling in countries where rabies is common such as Southeast Asia and Africa,
  • working in a laboratory with the rabies virus,
  • activities that makes you in contact with wild animals such as camping and exploring caves,
  • wounds to your head, hands and neck that can make rabies travel quickly to your brain.
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