Human Bite

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

A human bite is any wound that you get from coming into contact with a person's teeth. The wound may be deep and cause injury to bones, muscles, and other body parts. Human bites are often more serious than animal bites. Wounds are more likely to become infected because of the germs in a person's mouth.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

Medicines used to treat a human bite may cause nausea or vomiting. You may develop soreness, redness, or swelling where a tetanus shot was given. Untreated human bites may lead to more serious problems, such as swelling and infections. Severe swelling may prevent blood from flowing to your hands and feet. Infection may spread to other parts of your body and this can become life-threatening.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Medicines:

You may have any of the following:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.

  • Anti-virals and immune globulins: These medicines may be given if the person who bit you has hepatitis (liver swelling) or HIV infection. Anti-virals work by stopping the virus from spreading into your body. The immune globulins may be given to help the immune (body defense) system fight the infection. Ask your caregiver for more information about how these medicines may help.

  • Medicines to treat pain, swelling, or fever: These medicines are safe for most people to use. However, they can cause serious problems when used by people with certain medical conditions. Tell caregivers if you have liver or kidney disease or a history of bleeding in your stomach.

  • Td vaccine: This vaccine is a booster shot used to help prevent diphtheria and tetanus. The Td booster may be given to adolescents and adults every 10 years or for certain wounds and injuries.

Tests:

You may need any of the following:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

  • Wound culture: This is a method to grow and identify the germs that may be in your wound. This helps caregivers learn what kind of infection you have and what medicine is best to treat it.

  • X-ray: This is a picture of your bones and tissues in the wound bite area. You may need to have an x-ray, especially if the wound is near a joint or bone. Caregivers use the pictures to look for broken bones, injury, or foreign objects.

Treatment options:

You may have any of the following:

  • Drainage: This may be done if the wound is already infected and contains pus. Caregivers may drain the pus using a needle to clean the wound.

  • Irrigation and debridement: Irrigation with clean water further cleans the wound. This is done under high pressure, using a needle or catheter (tube) tip and large syringe. A solution that kills germs may also be used. Objects, dirt, or dead tissues from the open wound will be removed.

  • Surgery: You may need surgery to repair a broken bone or damaged joint, tendon, or nerve. Surgery to rebuild the body part with the bite wound may be also be done. Your wound may be left open until it heals or closed using stitches.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Human Bite (Inpatient Care)

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