The bite that is more dangerous than a dog bite

Well, its not Zombies… but pretty close! It’s actually the human bite. It may seem relatively harmless to get bitten by your 2-year old niece, but you could in fact, end up with severe infections.

When a human bites you, there’s a higher risk of infection than with a dog bite. Strange, but true. Consider that the bacteria transferred by a human bite contains up to 100 million organisms per millilitre! No surprise then that human bites are dangerous.

Human bite wounds

A bite could range from mild to moderate, to severe. Bites from children are often not very deep or damaging, and are therefore unlikely to become infected. Adult bites, on the other hand, are more serious as it’s more forceful than a child’s bite and more damaging to underlying tissue. Studies show that up to 15% of human bites can end up infecting the person who was bitten.

For example, a clenched fist hitting another person in the mouth and teeth can cut the skin over the knuckles.

A bite like this would damage underlying tissue and an infection could develop. Some serious infections that have been caused by human bites include:

  • Hepatitis B (a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus)
  • Hepatitis C
  • Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
  • Syphilis (a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact that starts as a painless sore)
  • Tuberculosis (a serious infectious bacterial disease that mainly affects the lung, but can affect other areas.)

Treating a human bite wound

  • Apply firm, direct pressure until the bleeding stops. This could take up to 10 minutes.
  • Wash the wound thoroughly with water and soap.
  • Wrap the wound with a clean, sterile, non-stick bandage.
  • Go to your doctor immediately.
  • Change your bandage a few times a day and watch for signs of infection.
Read  Emergency! Kid to the rescue!

Dog bite wounds

Dog bites occur more frequently than any other animal bite and most injuries are usually a result of the dog being teased or bothered while eating or sleeping. As children are more likely to taunt a dog, they’re usually the victims of a dog bite. Depending on whether a dog has been vaccinated or not, and the severity of the wound, a dog bite could also lead to infection. If a dog-bite wound is deep and you can’t stop the bleeding, you need to get to the doctor as soon as possible.

Treating a dog bite wound

  • Stop bleeding by applying pressure with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Wash the wound thoroughly with water and soap.
  • Wrap the wound with a clean, sterile, non-stick bandage.
  • Go to your doctor immediately.
  • Change your bandage a few times a day and watch for signs of infection.

Good to know

  • Bites near your face, feet, or hands are usually more serious.
  • A weakened immune system increases the risk of infections from a human bite.
  • Signs of an infection for both a dog and human bite include swelling around the wound, pain or tenderness, fever, chills and discharge like pus.
  • If you’ve been bitten by a dog, determine the risk for rabies and the need for treatment to prevent the disease. You may need a tetanus injection. If you haven’t had one in the last 10 years, it’s recommended that you have one.

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