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To treat a rat bite, you first will need to stop any resulting bleeding, clean the wound with antiseptic or peroxide, and cover the wound with gauze or a disposable bandage. Depending on the origin of the rat, meaning whether it was domestic or wild, you may need to seek medical attention to rule out the possibility of getting rabies. Keep a watch on the wound for several days afterward to ensure you do not come down with rat-bite fever, and seek a doctor’s care if you begin to exhibit any symptoms.
Rats have very long teeth, and bites can be rather deep, so bleeding can be steady and sometimes severe for several moments. To prevent too much blood loss, place a rag, your finger, or gauze over the rate bite and hold it firm to stop the flow. After several minutes the bleeding should subside and you should then begin cleaning the wound.
Hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or an antiseptic cleaner are all good options when cleaning a rat bite. Use a large amount to remove any bacteria and germs which may be present. Once the wound is clean, use a healing lotion on the area and cover with a clean, dry, bandage or gauze with tape.
Domesticated rats are unlikely to carry rabies, so if the rat bite came from a family pet, you are probably safe. If the rat was wild, it is still very rare that it would be a rabies carrier, as it is not common in small rodents like rats and mice. You should see a doctor for a wild rat bite anyway since they are more likely to carry other diseases and harmful bacteria, and you may or may not receive a rabies shot depending on how prevalent rabies is in your area.
Over the days and weeks following a rat bite, be sure to check the wound often for any signs of rat-bite fever. Symptoms include fever, chills, swelling around the bite, discoloration, tenderness, a skin rash surrounding the wound, vomiting, and nausea. Treatment generally includes antibiotics like penicillin. Rat-bite fever will generally clear up on its own within a year if no treatment is provided, and it is not usually fatal.
You can prevent getting bitten by a rat or small rodent by handling family pets properly. Do not hold them by their tails or swing them around, and don’t try to roughhouse with them as you would with a small dog. You should also steer clear of wild rodents when you encounter them. Wild rats can be carriers of disease, so you should rid your home of them if you believe they are be present.