Evident from its name, human bites come occur when a human, usually a
child, bites another human.Although most human bites do not seem dangerous as compared to canine or shark bites, there is a high risk of infection, due to the bacteria found in the human mouth. There is an approximate 10-15% of human bites wounds that become infected. Moreover,the normal flora of the skin may colonize in the punctured wound, thus resulting to high levels of bacteria found in the wound. These seemingly minor infections, in turn, may lead to severe infections of the joints, thus it is necessary to give treatment as soon as possible.
Causes of human bites
- Direct: direct contact between teeth and bitten area
- When a child bites another child
- Indirect: no direct contact between teeth and bitten area
- When a had strokes a tooth leading to skin break.
Signs and symptoms of human bites
Human bites do not necessarily break the skin. However, there may be damage to the underlying joints and tendons. If the skin is broken, chances for infection are higher, as well as supplemental damage to the tendons, joins and nerves. Some of these symptoms include:
- Break in the skin or major cuts with or without bleeding
- Puncture wounds
- Contusion on affected area
- Crushing injuries
- Signs of an infection:
- Pain and swelling
- Warmth around the wound
- Discharge of pus
- Signs of tendon or nerve damage
- Incapability of bending or straightening the finger
- Numbness over the tip of the finger
Treatment for human bites
Apart from obtaining infections, one danger of human bites is that it may transmit diseases from person to person, such as hepatitis B hepatitis C virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and syphilis. If the skin was broken, immediately see a doctor. The manner for treating superficial bites and deep wounds differ.
- Bitten region should not be placed inside the mouth due to the high amounts of bacteria present in the mouth. This may lead to infection.
- If the skin is not broken, thoroughly wash the wound with soap and water. An antiseptic, such as hydrogen peroxide, may also be used.
- To avoid infection, apply an antibiotic ointment or cream. Using a nonstick bandage, cover the wound.
- Observe the area for signs of damages to the tendons or nerves. If no sensation felt on the fingertips or the fingers cannot be straightened, immediately seek for medical help.
- If the skin is broken and there is bleeding, direct pressure should be applied using a sterile, dry cloth. If none is available, find the cleanest absorbent cloth.
- Elevate the affected are.
- Never clean an actively bleeding wound.
- Seal the wound with a clean dressing. Immediately seek for medical help.
Human bites can cause several potential problems if not treated early. Several organizations and institutions offer Childcare First Aid Courses that educate the community how to treat children in cases of medical emergencies involving children. Moreover, Standard First Aid Courses are also offered on how to administer first aid in many medical scenarios such as puncture wounds in human bites.