What is Human Bites?
- Human Bite is a puncture wound inflicted by contact with the teeth and mandibular force from another human. It is generally a dangerous condition, with even minor ones having the potential for severe infection, if left untreated
- There are a variety of bacteria present in the mouth that include Viridans streptococci, Staphylococci, Fusobacterium, Bacteroides sp., Peptostreptococcus, Eikenella corrodens, etc. that may cause an infection
What are the Causes of Human Bites?
Human Bites may be caused by:
- Children playing (unsupervised)
- Fights, including punching individual on the face leading to bite marks/broken skin
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Human Bites?
The signs and symptoms of Human Bites may include:
- Intense pain
- Red marks
- Clenched teeth injuries may affect the skin, soft tissue (tendon), and joint, but may not always break the skin
- Severe bites on the nose or ears, may cause a part of the appendage to be detached (bitten off) from the body. In such cases, the nerves and blood vessels can also be involved
How is First Aid administered for Human Bites?
First Aid tips for Human Bites:
- Apply pressure to stop bleeding, if there is severe bleeding from the bite
- Carefully wash the wound with water and soap; but, DO NOT lick the open wound, as it can add more bacteria
- Apply antibiotic cream on the wound
- Cover the wound with clean cloth or bandage
- Try to keep the affected area elevated
- Systemic antibiotics are typically administered; prophylactic oral antibiotics are given, even for uninfected injuries
- Get a tetanus shot, if you have not taken it in the last 5 years (or as recommended by your healthcare provider)
- Consult a healthcare professional immediately (at least within 24 hours)
For infected Human Bites, parenteral therapy (intravenous antibiotic therapy) is necessary. In cases, where the infected wound (skin/soft tissue) is associated with infection of the underlying bone (termed osteomyelitis), intravenous antibiotic therapy may be required for 6 weeks.
Who should administer First Aid for Human Bites?
- Human Bite victims can follow initial first aid steps and seek help from a medical professional, if the bite is minor/severe
- It is important to note that both minor and severe bites should be treated by a healthcare provider, since the risk of infection is generally high
What is the Prognosis of Human Bites?
The prognosis is dependent on the extent and severity of the bite, but is usually good with appropriate treatment.
How can Human Bites be Prevented?
Human Bites can be prevented by:
- Supervising interactions between children
- Avoid getting into physical altercations
What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?
- Applying pressure to stop the bleeding
- If the wound is deep and the bleeding is severe, DO NOT attempt to clean the area, but cover it with a sterile cloth and take the individual to a physician
- Sterilize the wound and monitor for infection