Appendix 1: Actions if Bitten or Scratched
When exposure to rabies has occurred death can usually be prevented by prompt and appropriate post-exposure treatment. This will be required even when pre-exposure immunisation has been given. Post-exposure treatment includes treatment of the wound and specific treatment with a rabies vaccine and sometimes also human rabies-specific immunoglobulin (at site of wound and by intra-muscular injection). Where post exposure treatment is indicated, this should be started at once.
Immediate first Aid
- Wash the wound immediately under a running tap for 5 minutes with soap or a detergent. Primary suture and excessive scrubbing should be avoided if possible
- Seek medical assistance
- Apply 40-70% alcohol, tincture or aqueous solutions of iodine or quaternary ammonium compounds proven to have a lethal effect on the rabies virus (e.g. cetrimide solution 0.1% BPC) and cover with simple dressing
- Do not apply unfamiliar substances to wounds as that could impair the body’s immune response
- Antibiotics and specific tetanus prophylaxis should be given if necessary
- Post-exposure immunisation may be required.
Further information and guidance on post exposure treatment is available on the NHS ‘Choices’  website and also contained within the Health Protection Network- ‘ Rabies: Guidance on Prophylaxis and Management in Humans in Scotland’. 
Email: Frances Hepburn Frances Hepburn
Telephone: Central Enquiries Unit 0300 244 4000