Are hamster bites dangerous? Tragedy struck a Singapore family recently, when a mum of three died after getting bitten by her pet hamster.
She leaves behind three daughters, aged between two and 10.
Are Hamster Bites Dangerous? Mum's Death Is Shocking
The incident was reported by Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao. Apparently, the mum, an ex-policewoman turned civil servant, got bitten when she tried to separate her two fighting pets.
It seems, at first, her tongue and hand felt numb. Her family members then called for an ambulance.
Shockingly, she later fell into a coma and passed away on May 25, 2018, after six days of treatment.
Apparently, she had suffered a severe allergic reaction to the animal's bite.
According to Facebook page Hamster Help Singapore, the victim probably died from anaphylactic shock to the hamster bite.
"For people with severe allergies, when they’re exposed to something they’re allergic to, they may experience a potentially life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. As a result, their immune system releases chemicals that flood the body. This can lead to anaphylactic shock, which is deadly.
"If you are unsure of your allergies, be cautious when handling all types of animals. If a hamster bites you:
- Wash the wound immediately and squeeze out as much blood as possible to avoid blood poisoning.
- Spray/apply iodine to kill the bacteria.
- You may choose to get a tetanus shot at your GP, just to be safe."
Anaphylaxis and Anaphylactic Shock
If a person has allergies (especially to insect stings, food, or certain medicines), it is important to know that sometimes, she can have a more severe allergic reaction.
The person may be wheezing and have breathing difficulties. Her blood pressure can drop, breathing tubes can narrow, and the tongue can swell. This is known as anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, and it is sudden and life-threatening.
Risk factors for severe anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock include:
- a previous anaphylactic reaction
- allergies or asthma
- a family history of anaphylaxis
The symptoms of anaphylaxis are:
- trouble breathing
- throat tightness or feeling like the throat or airways are closing
- hoarseness or trouble speaking
- skin reactions such as hives
- suddenly feeling too warm
- nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
- abdominal pain
- a weak and rapid pulse
- swollen tongue or lips
- tingling hands, feet, mouth or scalp
- runny nose and sneezing
- difficulty in swallowing
If anaphylaxis has progressed to anaphylactic shock, the symptoms include:
- struggling to breathe
- sudden feeling of weakness
- loss of consciousness
Anaphylaxis requires immediate treatment. It can get worse very quickly.
This is why doctors usually advise people with life-threatening allergies to carry a medication called epinephrine. If the person has a serious allergic reaction, give the epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) right away. Every second counts.
Also, call the ambulance. If the person appears to be going into anaphylactic shock, do the following while waiting for the ambulance to arrive:
- Get them into a comfortable position and elevate their legs to keep blood flowing to the vital organs.
- Administer the EpiPen immediately.
- Administer CPR if they aren’t breathing.