What To Do If A Bat Touches You.

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Touching a bat isn’t advised at all – in some countries it is even illegal. If a bat accidentally touches you though – please exercise extreme caution and care.

First Things First: Wash, Wash, Wash

Even if it was only fleeting or barely any contact was made – please go immediately to wash your hands and/or face – ideally somewhere with a light. If you woke up to find a bat in your room – or that of a child, vulnerable person, or intoxicated individuals – do the same.

And by wash, we mean wash any exposed skin thoroughly with warm, soapy water and for a decent amount of time. Often a bat bite or scratch can’t easily be seen – and as they have incredibly sharp teeth – you often don’t even feel the cut.

Washing isn’t only because bats can carry parasites and other nasties (same as any wild animal) – but it is so you can check if you got scratched or bitten. Often scratches or bites go unnoticed because they are so small and often don’t really hurt. Adults should certainly check over any children – even more so with teens who may not disclose a bite for fear of ‘ruining the night’ or ‘making a fuss’. These are the most important people to check.

Bat bites can be fatal – so washing is the most important first step of all.

What To Do If A Bat Touches You:

Although most bat encounters are harmless – there is a very slim chance that the bat may be infected with rabies.

Seeing that 90% of rabies fatalities in the US alone are from suspected bat contact – it is a risk worth taking seriously. A few hours of having this dealt with properly by medical professionals could literally save your life and that of your family.

Have A Good Wash

The first step is always as above – have everyone involved have a good thorough wash in warm water. The soap should highlight any scratches or bites that weren’t clearly visible before.

Also, if you already have an exposed cut or scratch from something else – that could be a point of contact. Rabies is passed in an animal’s saliva, so any fluids coming out of the bat in the confusion could land on and enter your bloodstream through that uncovered wound.

Always Be Cautious

Unfortunately, rabies can also be passed on through mucous membranes. So, even though you may be able to wash your hands and arms during contact – if the bat came close to anyone’s face – then anything could have entered their eyes, nose, or mouth. If facial contact happened to young or vulnerable people, always assume there was full contact as they can’t tell you otherwise for sure.

Although some people say to catch the bat that touched you to see if it had rabies – this is quite dangerous. Trying to catch a bat could actually cause you to get bitten in the first place – they are very difficult to handle safely (and killing a bat can get you a huge fine in many countries).

Be Aware Of Where You Are

If you are traveling in countries or states that have a higher than average incidence of rabies – then you need to be even more alert to any contact.

Also, if you woke to find a bat inside your house – it could be more likely that you have had serious contact – even if everyone seems untouched. Bats can crawl along the ground or on beds – vampire bats certainly do (even cutting through clothing if needed) – so they could have easily made direct contact. Bats trapped in homes often act erratically too – so double bad news.

Where Do Vampire Bats Live?

Be Honest With Yourself

If you think there is even a slim chance that you or someone in your family or household COULD have got bat spit in their eyes or mouth, into an existing cut, or has been scratched by a bat – you must call your doctor – or the emergency services if it was a definite attack.

Rabies needs to be treated immediately (with a simple vaccine) and before any symptoms are seen: this is the only way treatment can be successful. Once symptoms are seen in a human there is virtually nothing even the best hospital can do to save you. You cannot afford to ignore this.

Now you know what to do if a bat touches you…

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