Don’t handle bats

You don’t want to go through this.

A friend of mine picked up an injured bat out of instinct, to toss it away from family pets. He was bitten and with recent reports of rabid animals, the ER was taking no chances and insisted he be brought in.

Even with the animal captured so it could be sent off for testing, treatment began. If people do develop symptoms of rabies, it is 99 percent fatal.

The vaccine itself is not so bad – literally a shot in the arm. It is followed up by shots on days 3, 7, 14 and 28.

What is horrible is the human immune globulin, which packs antibodies. It is a thick goo that has to be worked under the skin at the wound site, and brought my friend to tears, coming up off the ER bed, begging for breaks twice – and this is someone who has grown used to cortisone shots every few months. I don’t wish it on anyone.

The good news is that with a confirmed bite attached to this animal, it will take priority and results should be available in about 48 hours – perhaps even in time to avoid the second vaccine dose if the test is negative.

That’s a big “if.” The waiting isn’t something I wish on anyone, either. Be careful out there.

This post originally appeared on, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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