Human Bites: How to Treat and Manage Them

Evidently enough, human bites happen when one human bites another, wherein usually these bites come from a child. When being compared to bites from dogs, cats or sharks, human bites do not often seem to pose much threat. However, human bites actually pose a higher risk of infection due to the abundant amount of bacteria found in the human mouth. Approximately 10-15% of all human bites become infected. In addition, there is also bacteria present in the human skin as part of the normal flora that increases exposure to bacteria. Although human bites are not considered a medical emergency and do not always require medical treatment, it is important to administer proper first aid to all human bites to avoid unnecessary complications from developing. Learn how to administer first aid by joining First Aid Courses.

Another danger that may befall a person aside from infections are transmitting disease that can be passed from one person to another. These diseases include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and syphilis.

Types of Human Bites


  • Presence of direct contact between the bitten area and teeth
  • Example: when a child bites another child out of anger


  • Absence of direct contact between bitten area and teeth
  • Example: when a hand hits the tooth and causes a breakage in the skin

Signs and Symptoms of Human Bites

Not all skin bites lead to a break in the skin. Although the damage may not always be superficial and evident, damage may happen to the underlying tendons and joints. However, if there is a break in the skin, the risk for developing infections is higher, as well as damage to the tendons, joints and nerves. Signs and symptoms of human bites include:

  • A break the in the skin or major cut that may be bleeding or not
  • A puncture wound
  • Bruising on the area
  • Crushing injury

The following may be signs of an infection on the wound:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Warmness around the injury
  • Pus discharge

The following may be signs or a nerve or tendon damage:

  • Unable to bend or straighten the finger
  • Numbness on the finger, especially on the tip

First Aid Treatment for Human Bites

If there was a notable break in the skin, it is recommended to see the doctor. however, a superficial bite can be treated at home with proper First Aid.

Treatment for Superficial Bites

  • If there was no break in the skin, wash the wound thoroughly with water and mild soap. Hydrogen peroxide and other antiseptics may also be used to clean the wound.
  • To help avoid an infection, apply an antibiotic ointment. Cover the wound using a non-stick bandage.
  • Avoid putting the affected region inside the mouth, especially for children.
  • Monitor the affected area for any sign of infection or damage to the tendons or nerves. If any of the signs mentioned in the previous section are observed, seek medical attention immediately.

Treatment for Deep Wounds

  • Seek for medical attention.
  • Apply direct pressure on the wound if there is bleeding. Use a sterile, dry cloth. If none is available, use the cleanest absorbent cloth.
  • Raise the affected area.
  • To help avoid an infection, apply an antibiotic ointment. Cover the wound using a non-stick bandage.
  • If the wound is actively bleeding, do not attempt to clean it.
Direct pressure should be applied on the human bite if there is bleeding. It should also be covered in a sterile

Direct pressure should be applied on human bites if there is bleeding. It should also be covered in a sterile, non-stick bandage

Human bites often pose a great risk for danger because of the amount of bacteria exposed to the wound. Avoid complications from human bites by applying proper first aid.


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