The Very Real Danger of Rabies – Get Vaccinated
Crazed, frothing-at-the-mouth, mean and ornery – these are some of the words that pop into your head when thinking of animals infected with rabies. Protecting ourselves via vaccination for this debilitating and very often deadly disease is a great idea if planning to visit any wilderness area or planning to be around animals for any length of time.
We’ve all grown up with the idea of a rabid dog or raccoon acting completely crazy and willing to tear a chunk of flesh from us if we wondered to close. We can still hear the warnings today, shouted from a concerned parent, “Stay away from that animal!” A vaccination is the best way to stay healthy.
What is rabies?
It is is an acute viral infection that affects the nervous system of mammals that eventually causes swelling of the brain, and after a brief period, death.
How can I Catch rabies?
As the infection works its way to the brain of the mammal it begins to show up in the saliva. This saliva is now infected and can be passed to a human through a bite or scratch. This is the most common form of transmission. A rabies vaccination is effective in blocking this transmission.
What are the Symptoms of Rabies in Animals?
A fast change in the personality of the animal is the first symptom that it may be infected, followed by changes that may include aggression and a wobbly walk. Paralysis also will set in starting in the rear of the animal and quickly progress to the front.
What are the Symptoms of Rabies in Humans?
Symptoms in a human can arise in as short a time as 14 days or as long as a year. Infected individuals will then come down with a fever, sore throat, and stiff muscles. They also commonly suffer from headache, exhaustion, nausea, and itching or tingling at the site of the bite. Remember, individuals who have received a vaccination for rabies will forgo all these severe symptoms.
People are afraid of coming forward even if they think they may be infected. This is due to the fact that the cure for rabies USED to be a harrowing and painful series of 23 needles administered to the stomach! People of a certain age still believe this to be true. It is not. Today the cure is a series of five shots administered to the arm. Still nothing to laugh at, but it beats paralysis and death any day of the week.
Most important of all is the vaccination. People who are living in-or traveling for more than a month to-any high risk area (such as a jungle habitat), and people who work with wild animals are recommended to receive the vaccination.
How is the Vaccination Administered?
It is done carefully and professionally through a series of nine shots over a three or four week period. Each series of three will be spaced out by a minimum of one week and a maximum of three. They are not administered all at once.
What Should I Expect After Receiving the Vaccination?
Besides being protected against rabies, not much, thankfully. Redness or swelling can arise at the injection sites within 24-48 hours after receiving the shots. Other, more serious reactions are very rare.