According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention someone dies from rabies every ten minutes worldwide. Getting the fatal disease is preventable, and though adults often know what to do to prevent rabies, kids may not. It’s certainly worth teaching your child how to prevent rabies because half of the people who get the disease are under the age of 15.
Rabies is a virus that lives in the saliva of animals. People typically get infected when they’re bitten by an animal with the disease. When it’s likely you or a child has been bitten by an animal with rabies, it’s vital to get medical help right away. According to the CDC, when symptoms show up, it’s typically too late to save a life.
Early symptoms include fever, headache and weakness, which can be symptoms for many other ailments. As rabies gets worse symptoms include difficulty sleeping, anxiety, confusion, tingling sensation, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, salivating, difficulty swallowing and fear of water.
When humans get rabies it’s usually from an infected pet. Make sure your pet sees a veterinarian annually to get a rabies vaccination, which will protect them from the disease.
Call animal control to remove stray animals from the neighborhood which may be infected. Remind kids to tell an adult if they see a stray animal and to never go near one. Keep your pets indoors, or monitor them outdoors. Keep garbage lids closed and food indoors, so stray animals aren’t encouraged onto your property.
The CDC says that most rabies cases are in raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats. Children should be warned to stay away from wild animals, especially if they’re acting unusually. They may seem sick, be tamer than normal, be drooling excessively or be paralyzed.
Kids should also be warned to leave dead animals alone. Those that recently died can still give rabies to people.
If an animal bites you, get help immediately. Make sure kids know to tell an adult if they’re bitten, no matter what. Wash the wound with soap and water and get to a hospital where you’ll get the help you need.