Human Bite 

The mouth has germs that can cause a severe infection. These include bacteria and viruses. If the tooth of another person has cut your skin, there is a chance of a serious infection occurring in the first few days. Bites to the hand are especially likely to get infected (cellulitis). Diseases may also be passed on through human bites. These include hepatitis B or C, and herpes simplex virus. Bites can also damage tendons, nerves and blood vessels under the skin.

Human bite wounds may be stitched (sutured) closed or left open to heal. This depends on the location of the bite on your body, length of time since the bite, severity, and signs of infection. Your healthcare provider may want to do blood tests, a wound culture, X-ray, ultrasound, or other tests. Your provider will explain if you need any of these tests. He or she will discuss your results with you along with the best method for treatment.

Home care

The following will help you care for your wound at home:

  • Most skin wounds heal within 10 days. But a human bite wound has a higher risk of getting infected. Look at the bite area each day for the next 4 days for signs of infection (see below).

  • For some types of wounds, an antibiotic will be prescribed. This will depend on several things, including how serious the wound is,, nearby tissue injury, depth of the wound, and location. Take all antibiotics and medicines as directed until they are all gone.

  • If the bite is on the hand, arm, foot, or leg, limit the use of that body part. Keep it elevated for the first 24 hours.

  • You may be given a tetanus shot.

  • Don't suck on the wound. This may add more bacteria.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or this facility as directed.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Spreading redness and warmth around the bite wound

  • Increased pain or swelling

  • Fever of 100.4º F (38º C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Colored fluid or pus draining from the wound

  • Any signs of nerve or tendon damage, such as inability to bend a joint or feel an area of skin

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered by Krames Patient Education - A Product of StayWell