Human bites pose a high risk for infection. When it comes to this type of injury, it requires immediate care to minimize any complications.
Cleansing of human bites
It is essential to clean the wound regardless of how small the cut is. Remember that there are abundant bacteria in the human mouth. Proper cleansing of the wound reduces the risk for infection.
In case the wound is small, you can clean it at home using tap water. As for larger, dirty or deep wounds, it should be cleaned by a healthcare professional. You should allow the wound to bleed freely, but if it is heavy, a sterile pad or dressing must be used to apply pressure until medical help can be sought. After cleansing, cover the wound using a sterile, non-adhesive dressing.
In case part of the wound is dead or damaged, it should be trimmed or removed. The reason is due to high risk for infection to develop in dead skin.
Some wounds should be closed whether stitched, glued or using tape. Nevertheless, it is recommended to allow a wound from human bites to heal naturally since they are less likely to become infected.
A brief course of antibiotics is prescribed to prevent infection from developing on human bites. There are instances in which antibiotics are needed such as:
- Deep or large wounds from human bites
- Bite site is on the face, foot or hand.
- Weakened resistance to infection
- Presence of artificial heart valves
What to watch out for?
The usual complication after human bites is no other than infection of the wound. A doctor should be consulted if the skin around the wound becomes painful, tender, swollen or reddened a few days after the bite.
It is rare for the bacteria to enter the bloodstream via a wound and trigger a serious bodily infection. A doctor should be consulted if the individual becomes generally sick along with fever, chills or other troublesome symptoms in a week or more after a bite.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on human bites is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage humans bites with proper wound care by taking a standard first aid course with Vancouver First Aid.