The first symptoms of rabies may be very similar to the flu and may last for days. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Excessive salivation
- Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing
- Partial paralysis
When to see a doctor
Seek immediate medical care if you're bitten by any animal. Based on your injuries and the situation in which the bite occurred, you and your doctor can decide whether you should receive treatment to prevent rabies.
Even if you aren't sure whether you've been bitten, seek medical attention. For instance, a bat that flies into your room while you're sleeping may bite you without waking you. If you awake to find a bat in your room, assume you've been bitten. Also, if you find a bat near a person who can't report a bite, such as a small child or a person with a disability, assume that person has been bitten.