What is Rabies?
Rabies is a painful and life-threatening condition that happens due to an encounter with an infected animal. It is caused by a type of virus that essentially affects the central nervous system of the individual and causes an inflammation in the brain. This virus gets transferred through animals like dogs, cats, racoons, skunks, rabbits and bats through bites and scratches.
There are two different types of Rabies that experts essentially know of:
This is the general understanding of what this condition is all about.
The time between being bitten by an infected animal to when the symptoms start showing is called the incubation period. The Rabies symptoms take up to four to twelve weeks to develop in the infected individual and also differs based on the type. At times, this incubation period can also range from a few days to six years. The common symptoms that are very similar to symptoms of flu have been listed below for your reference and knowledge:
- Developing sudden fever
- Feeling weakness in the muscles
- Experiencing a tingling sensation in the body part where the animal has bitten
- Feeling burning at the part where the bite has happened
- Feeling of anxiety and depression
- Fear of water
Who is at Risk?
There are some wild as well as domesticated animals that can spread this virus. There are quite a few Rabies risk factors related to these animals that all individuals should be aware about as this can develop in anyone and at any stage in their life. We have mentioned them below for your reference and understanding of the same:
If you have come in contact with any of these and have been bitten or scratched by them then immediately consult a doctor.
The Rabies causes are essentially dependant on the rabies virus. It is often linked to different animals. We have discussed below for your understanding some of these causes in details:
- When an individual comes in contact with the saliva of the infected animals
- When the infected animals have either bitten a human being or bitten other animals who has bitten a human being
- When the saliva of these animals gets into the open wound of a person
- When the infected saliva gets inside the eyes or the mouth by licking
These are common causes that one should know.
How is Rabies diagnosed?
For Rabies diagnosis, a Rabies doctor will need to perform a certain number of Rabies tests once the symptoms start showing. Till the symptoms do not start showing up, there is no way for a doctor to know through any test. The doctor may check one or more of the following for better diagnosis:
- In case you have been bitten by an animal, then the doctor will give a vaccine for rabies to help you and prevent you from developing this painful condition. This vaccine is called postexposure prophylaxis (PEP). This is only successful when it is given immediately after exposure to the animal bite.
- Shots will have to be taken periodically as prescribed by doctor.
How is Rabies treated?
The only cure for Rabies treatment is getting the required vaccine. However, there are some rare side effects of getting the vaccine which you should know of. We have mentioned it below for you:
- Swelling, pain or itching on injection site
- Muscle pain
In case these doesn’t work then the doctor will prescribe medicine for Rabies.
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How can Rabies be prevented?
Rabies prevention can be done by keeping some simple measures in mind. Some of these have been mentioned below for your understanding and consideration:
- Ensure that your pet is vaccinated
- Before you travel to developing countries, or work closely with animals, or if you are working in a lab that handles rabies virus then ensure you get a rabies vaccination before starting with any of these
- Do not let your pets roam around outside too much
- Ensure that you do not come in contact with wild animals
- Call animal control when you see stray animals