When dealing with an animal or insect bite, it can be hard to know whether to go to the ER. Many bites are minor and can be treated at home, but depending on the animal or insect the bite came from, and where the bite occurred, emergency treatment may be necessary.

Human, dog, cat, pet and wildlife bites

Children are the most common group to be bitten by dogs, cats and other pets. Children are also most at risk of bites from older children. If a bite occurs, emergency care may be necessary in the following situations:

  • Cat bites: Cat bites can easily become infected, especially when they happen on the hand or near a joint. A doctor will typically prescribe antibiotics.
  • Bites in the hand, face or joints: Dog and cat bites to the face, hands or joint tissue can cause underlying damage and infection.
  • Risk of rabies or tetanus: Wild or feral animal bites – or bites from livestock – carry the risk of rabies and tetanus. Followup shots may be necessary.
  • Risk of viral transmission: When human bites break the skin, viruses can be transmitted. It is always a good idea to have a human bite checked by a doctor.

Snake, spider and insect bites

Some snakes, spiders and insects can be very poisonous.

  • Snake bite: Unless you know for sure the snake is not poisonous, seek emergency treatment and be prepared to describe the snake to the emergency staff.
  • Spider bite: If you notice any of the following symptoms, seek emergency care:
    • Surrounding redness and warmth
    • Drainage from the bite
    • Severe pain at the bite location or anywhere else in the body
    • Severe cramping
    • Vomiting

When to Take Your Child to the ER for Bites

When an animal or insect bites your child, it can be a scary experience. While many bites are minor and can be treated at home, it is important to know when you should seek emergency care.

Depending on what type of animal or insect bit your child, and where the bite occurred, emergency treatment may be necessary.

Bites from dogs, cats, pets, wildlife and other children

Children are bitten by dogs, cats and other pets much more commonly than adults. Young children are also the most at risk of bites from other children. If your child is bitten, you may need to seek emergency care in the following situations:

  • Bites in the hand, face or joints: If your child is bitten in the face, hands or joint tissue, he or she may be at risk of underlying damage and infection.
  • Rabies or tetanus risk: If your child is bitten by a wild or feral (a domestic animal that has gone wild) animal, or by livestock, he or she may be at risk of rabies or tetanus. Follow-up shots may be necessary.
  • Viral transmission risk: If a bite from another child breaks the skin, viruses can be transmitted. You should always have a human bite checked by a pediatrician.
  • Cat bites/scratches: A bite or scratch from a cat can easily become infected, particularly if it happens near a joint or on the hand. Your child will typically need to take antibiotics following a cat bite.
  • Dog bites: A bite from a dog also can become infected and may require antibiotics if the bite has broken the skin.

Bites from snakes, spiders and insects

In most cases, insect bites and stings are a painful nuisance that will respond to home care. However, some snakes, spiders and insects can be very poisonous. For that reason, it is important to keep an eye out for these signs that it may be time to seek emergency care for your child.

  • Snake bite: Seek emergency treatment unless you know for sure that the snake is not poisonous. Take note of the snake’s appearance if possible and be prepared to describe it to the emergency staff.
  • Spider bite: A large population of brown recluse spiders resides in the Wichita metro area. If you notice your child displays any of these signs after a spider bite, seek emergency care:
    • Severe pain at the bite location or anywhere else in the body
    • Redness and warmth surrounding the bite
    • Severe cramping
    • Drainage from the bite
    • Vomiting
  • Bee or wasp stings: If your child develops a large rash or swelling around the sting area, or if pain or swelling lasts a few days, call your pediatrician. These symptoms may indicate an infection. If your child shows these signs of a severe allergic reaction, immediately seek emergency care:
    • Difficulty breathing or tightness in the throat
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Dizziness or fainting
    • Swelling in the face

Wesley EmergencyCare Network ERs

Online ER Check-in

Patients can complete advance check-in to any of Wesley's four emergency rooms with a free mobile app available for Apple iPhones in iTunes and for Android phones in the Google Play App Store. Patients can also complete advance registration at www.wesleyercheckin.com. Users simply select which Wesley facility they would like to go to and fill out a few required fields. The selected ER will be instantly notified, enabling the ER staff to better prepare for the patient's arrival. The app and website include the facilities' average wait times so patients can better plan their visit.

ER Average Wait Times

ER wait times are approximate and provided for informational purposes only. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

The ER wait time represents the time it takes to see a qualified medical professional, defined as a Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathy (DO), Physician Assistant (PA) or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP).

ER wait times represent a four-hour rolling average updated every 30 minutes, and is defined as the time of patient arrival until the time the patient is greeted by a qualified medical professional. Patients are triaged at arrival and are then seen by a qualified medical professional in priority order based on their presenting complaint and reason for visit.

Ready Care

Wesley's main emergency department also provides Ready Care services, an “express lane” through the emergency department in a convenient, timely setting. These services are an alternative care route to the regular emergency department where treatment is determined on the severity of the patient's condition. Ready Care is ideal for patients who need immediate care for small emergencies, such as sprains, sore throats, ear infections and rashes. The service area is managed by providers trained in emergency medicine and is fully supervised by board-certified physicians. Patients are referred to the area through the regular emergency department.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please contact 911 or seek medical attention immediately.