What Are Human Bites?
Just as you
may receive a bite from an animal, you can also be bitten by a human. It’s most
likely that a child will inflict the bite. After dog and cat bites, human bites
are the third most common type of bite seen in emergency rooms.
can often lead to infection because of the amount of bacteria in a human mouth.
If you have a bite that has become infected, you may need medication or
surgery. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, human bite wounds cause about
one-third of all hand infections.
Who Is at Risk for Human
most common among young children because they are curious, angry, or
frustrated. Children and their caretakers are frequently at risk for bite
wounds. Fighting can also lead to bites in both children and adults. Sometimes
human bite wounds are accidental, resulting from a fall or collision.
Recognizing if a Bite Is
A bite may
be mild, moderate, or severe. You may have breaks in the skin, with or without
blood. Bruising may also occur. Depending on the location of the bite, you
might have injury to a joint or tendon.
or heat around the wound
wound that discharges pus
or tenderness on or around the wound
the amount of bacteria in the human mouth, a human bite can easily lead to
infection. See a doctor about any bite that breaks the skin.
help right away if you have pain, swelling, or redness in the area of the
wound. Bites near your face, feet, or hands may be more serious. A weakened
immune system increases the potential for complications from a human bite.
Treating Human Bites: First
Aid and Medical Assistance
bandaging the wound are frequent treatments for human bites.
child has received a bite, wash your hands with antibacterial soap before
tending to the bite. If possible, wear clean medical gloves to reduce the risk
of transmitting any bacteria into the wound.
If the wound
is mild and there’s no blood, wash it with soap and water. Avoid scrubbing the
wound. Use sterile bandages to cover it. Don’t try to close the wound with
tape, as this may trap bacteria in the wound.
bleeding, raise that area of the body and apply pressure to the wound using a
clean cloth or towel.
cleaning and bandaging the wound, call your doctor right away.
cases, your doctor may prescribe a round of antibiotics to fight infections. In
severe cases, your doctor may administer antibiotics through a vein. Deep
wounds may require stitches, and surgery may be necessary if there’s damage to
tendons or joints.
How Can I Prevent Human
bite for a variety of reasons. They may be too young to realize that they
shouldn’t bite, or they may be teething. This is when a baby’s first teeth
begin to emerge through the gums. Some very young children bite because they
haven’t yet developed social skills and biting is a way to connect with other
children. Biting due to anger or the need to control a situation is also very
help prevent these behaviors by teaching children not to bite. If your child
bites, calmly tell them that violent behavior is unacceptable.
What Is the Long-Term
from a human bite depends on its severity and whether the wound becomes
infected. An infection usually heals within seven to 10 days if treated
properly. Deeper bites may cause scarring and nerve damage.
If you have
a child who bites, talk to your doctor about ways to address this behavior. The
National Association for
Education of Young Children suggests looking for signs that trigger your child’s biting
behavior and intervening before your child bites. They also advocate using
positive enforcement when your child does use acceptable behavior when dealing
with emotional or social stress.