nurseinfo nursing notes for bsc, msc, p.c. or pb. bsc and gnm nursing
HUMAN BITE – Symptoms, First Aid and Medical Treatment

HUMAN BITE – Symptoms, First Aid and Medical Treatment 

HUMAN BITE – Symptoms, First Aid and Medical Treatment

Most human bites occur during a fight, usually when one person punches someone else in the teeth. These are often referred to as closed-fist bites or “fight bites”. Men aged 16-25 years are most likely to experience these bites. The majority of fight-bites (bites that occur when one person punches another person in teeth) occur in young males who have been drinking alcohol.

Intentional bites can be common in very young children, and in people with severe learning difficulties, as they are often unaware that such behavior is socially unacceptable. Accidental bites can occur during contact sports, such as rugby and football, when a person accidently knocks into another person’s teeth. Accidental bites can also occur during vigorous sexual activity, particularly oral sex. Although you may feel embarrassed, you should always seek medical treatment for an accidental bite that has occurred in this way, because this type of bite has a risk of becoming infected.


Human bites can be as dangerous as or even more dangerous than animal bites because of the types of bacteria and viruses contained in the human mouth bites may produce symptoms ranging from mild to severe:

  • Skin breaks or major cuts with or without bleeding
  • Puncture wounds
  • Bruising
  • Crushing injuries



  1. Calm and reassure the person. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap. It time allows, and you have some, put on a pair of protective gloves.
  2. If the area is not bleeding severely, wash the wound with mild soap and running water for 3 to 5 minutes and then cover the bite with a clean dressing. Remove the gloves, and wash your own hands again.
  3. If the area is actively bleeding,  apply direct pressure with a clean, dry cloth until the bleeding is controlled
  4. Wrap some ice in a towel and apply it to the area. This will ease the pain and help keep the swelling down. Do not apply ice directly on the skin because it may freeze the skin.
  5. Raise the area
  6. Get medical attention



A bite that just causes bruising or only scrapes the top layer of skin will not require much more than cleaning with soap and water, ice, and mild pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). A tetanus shot may be needed if the skin is broken and the patient has not had booster tetanus in the last five years. Antibiotics are usually not necessary for this type of bite. Besides giving a tetanus shot when appropriate, the doctor will generally numb these bites with medicine (such as lidocaine) and then thoroughly clean and examine the wound.

The decision to use or not use stitches in a human bite depends on many factors. Doctors tend to use stitches less often in cuts caused by human bites because of the high risk of infection, especially from mouth to bacteria that may thrive in injured or dying or dead tissue (devitalized tissues). A very deep cut in the tongue, for example, will usually be stitched even though it is a human bite because doctors know that it will usually not get infected even if stitched. The doctor may apply a splint to the bite area to keep it from moving. A sling may be used to help keep an injured hand elevated. Pain medication may be prescribed.