(HealthDay News) -- No one is able to prevent allanimal bites, so it's important to know what to do if you are bitten by a dog or cat.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers this advice:

  • Carefully wash the area with soap and warm water.
  • Stop any bleeding by applying a clean towel.
  • Cover the wound with a sterile bandage.
  • Elevate the area above the heart to reduce swelling and the risk of infection.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment twice daily until healed.
  • If appropriate, call your doctor and local authorities.