Human bites can be categorized as minor or serious. It is vital to determine which ones necessitate medical care. Remember that human bites include various injuries including deliberately-inflicted bites but also from encountering the teeth of another individual.
Indications of a human bite
A human bite is usually an evident injury but in some cases, the individual is unaware or unwilling to tell others. It is important to note that wounds over the knuckles should not be dismissed easily especially if it occurred during a fight. It is vital to determine if there is a break in the skin or indications of infection.
Signs of a break in the skin
A break in the skin increases the risk for infection and it necessitates a tetanus booster if the vaccinations are not updated.
A skin break is often noticeable but can be hard to distinguish in some instances. If the top layer of the skin has come off, it is considered as a skin break. If in doubt, consult a doctor. Raw appearance or drainage of clear fluid are also indications of a skin break.
What are the indications of an infection?
- Intensifying pain and tenderness – Pain from a human bite that increases is an initial indication of an infection. This is accompanied by tenderness if the area is touched. Generally, this occurs 1-2 days after the bite but can manifest later with deep infections.
- Increasing redness and swelling
- Fever – this usually occurs from a human bite once infection has spread significantly.
- Drainage of pus – this is a late sign of infection where the drainage is yellowish in appearance.
- Red streaks – the presence of red-colored streaks that radiates from the wound is evident.
- Swollen glands – these develop in areas close to the bite site as the lymph nodes react to protect the body.
A wound from a human bite that becomes infected should be carefully assessed by a doctor so that proper treatment can be started.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on human bites is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly provide wound care including on human bites, register for a first aid and CPR course with one of our training providers.