Gnarly Things That Happen To Your Body When You Get Rabies

Most people's comprehension of rabies comes from fictional works such as Cujo, which show rabid animals aggressively attacking anyone who gets close to them. Rabies can make dogs aggressive, but that is not the only symptom of this aggressive and deadly virus. What happens if you get rabies is nothing short of terrifying. It starts out with flu-like symptoms, and even if you catch it then, it's too late. You will experience muscle spasms, hyper-aggression, and horrifying hallucinations.

Although rabies it is not the threat it once was thanks to vaccinations, rabies still kills tens of thousands of people all over the world. It has also been a feared disease throughout history for its onset of bizarre symptoms and the fact people used to have little understanding of rabies symptoms and the animals that cause it. Rabies can kill you if not treated immediately. If you are bitten by a wild animal or an animal you suspect is rabid, get medical care ASAP. 

Photo: Cujo / Warner Bros. Pictures

  • First Of All - What Is Rabies?

    Rabies is a viral infection that can affect most mammals but is probably most famous for infecting both dogs and humans. However, any warm-blooded animal can pass the virus onto people, including bats, monkeys, and foxes. It is usually transmitted through a bite from a rabid animal, as infected creatures become extremely aggressive and the virus is found most prominently in the saliva. The deadly disease attacks the central nervous system of the brain. By the time a person is displaying symptoms of rabies, it is almost always fatal.

  • You Can Become Infected Through An Animal Bite Or Scratch

    Almost 99% of all cases of human rabies can be traced back to a bite from an animal that was carrying the virus. Biting is not the only mode of transmission, however – deep scratches can also lead to infection. The virus alters the behavior of animals, making them more prone to aggression. This makes the animal more likely to bite and pass on the disease.

  • You Might Not Show Symptoms For Months

    Rabies can have a long incubation period, which means symptoms may not emerge for weeks or even months after infection. The incubation period is contingent on how close the transmission site was to the central nervous system and how much of the virus was introduced to the body. Most people will begin to exhibit signs of rabies after one to three months, although it is also possible for it to happen just days later or even after several years.

  • You Will Start To Feel Flu-Like Symptoms

    The early symptoms of rabies, unfortunately, are not very distinctive. Most infected people will start exhibiting symptoms with a fever, headache, and a general feeling of being unwell. Because of this, doctors often misdiagnose rabies infections, or infected people think they simply have the flu. These symptoms usually last a few days and eventually lead to the victim becoming weak and uncomfortable.

  • The Bite Area Will Burn And Feel Tingly

    Along with a fever and general achiness, the bite are may start burning. Eventually, it may even start to tingle a bit. As the virus continues to attack the body, the tingling will spread to other muscles, leading to further muscle weakness. 

  • You Will Have Trouble Swallowing And Produce Excess Saliva

    It may feel like there is something stuck in your throat, as it is slowly swelling. This makes it extra rough to swallow, and food will sometimes lodge in your throat. On top of this, the rabies virus will cause you to produce a disgusting amount of saliva. At this point, the virus has already hit the brain and is replicating in the salivary glands.