Health Tip: When Another Person Bites You

-- A human bite can lead to a dangerous infection, just as an animal bite can.

About one-third of hand infections are caused by human bite wounds, which can be loaded with bacteria, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons warns.

The academy offers these guidelines for treating a human bite wound, even one that doesn't look serious:

  • Never put your mouth on the bite, as you can expose the wound to more bacteria.
  • If the skin has not been broken, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water, or an antiseptic cleanser.
  • Rub an antibiotic ointment on the area and cover it with a bandage.
  • Any wound that appears to have caused internal damage should be examined by a doctor. For bites that are bleeding, apply steady pressure, elevate the area, and immediately seek medical attention.

Posted: December 2008


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