When a cat scratches a child, it can result to an infection including cat scratch fever. Always bear in mind that kittens can transfer cat scratch fever or cat scratch disease which is a bacterial infection triggered by Bartonella henselae bacteria.
The illness can spread via exposure with a disease-ridden cat through a scratch or bite. Take note that it can spread via a scratch or bite or from exposure to the saliva of the cat on open wounds or mucosal surface such as the mouth, nose and the eyes.
The ideal way to prevent cat scratch fever is to keep any cats away from the child. An alternative is to limit vigorous play between the cat and the child. It is not too late to teach children not to tease or provoke pets particularly when animals are sleeping or eating. Remember that flea control is also vital since this is how cats spread the bacteria to each other.
What to do if a child is scratched?
- Cleanse the cat bite or scratch right away using water and soap
- If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure on the area until the bleeding stops. You can utilize a clean towel or bandage and if possible, utilize latex-free gloves for protection and prevent the wound from being infected.
- Dry the wound and cover it using a clean cloth or sterile gauze
Consult a doctor especially in cases if the scratch punctured the skin, set an appointment with a doctor so that the wound is properly assessed and treated.
What are the indications of cat scratch fever?
Essentially, after a bite or scratch from a cat, some pimples form around the wound as it starts to heal that can last for up to a month. Once a child is suspected with cat scratch fever, a doctor should be consulted right away. You have to watch out for the following signs and symptoms:
- Lumps or blisters at the site of the bite or scratch
- Swollen lymph nodes close to the site of the bite or scratch
The uncommon symptoms that can manifest in some cases include sore throat, appetite loss and weight loss.
Remember that even a minor scratch on the skin can make some parents to panic, but take note that cat scratch fever is not a serious condition. The doctor will perform a physical exam followed by a blood test to diagnose the condition.
Among children who have a healthy immune system, they usually recover from the condition completely on their own. Nevertheless, the treatment can oftentimes include a course of antibiotics such as clarithromycin, azithromycin or ciprofloxacin.