What are human bites?

What are human bites?

Human bites are injuries that happen when human teeth indent or break the skin. Wounds that indent the skin may cause underlying tendon or joint damage. Wounds that break the skin can be especially dangerous because of the variety and concentration of bacteria and viruses in saliva. Human bites have more than 50 types of bacteria. Such bites are thought to have a higher rate of infection than dog or cat bites. About one-third of all hand infections are caused by human bite injuries.

What are the types of human bites?

Occlusion bites are those caused when the teeth are sunk into the skin with sufficient force to break the skin. Clenched or closed fist injuries occur when the person’s fist comes into contact with the teeth of the person who is hit. Although the puncture mark or marks may appear harmless initially, injuries to the tendons, joints, and underlying tissue can occur. Closed fist injuries generally are more serious than occlusion bites because the knuckles are involved.

If a tooth or teeth penetrate the joint space, the joints, tendons, or bones of the finger may be infected by bacteria or viruses. When the fingers are straightened, the tendons relax and the infection may spread. Even if the wound appears small or harmless, the risk of damage may be serious.

What are the complications of human bites?

Bite wounds on the hands and upper limbs as well as bites to the nose and ear cartilage tend to pose more complications than those on other parts of the body. Even a seemingly minor injury can lead to a serious infection or damage to the underlying joints, tendons, or bones. These infections might cause permanent damage to the affected part of the body unless treated quickly.

The risks of infection depend on the type of wound and its location, the general medical condition of the patient, and the time that elapses between when the injury occurred and when it is treated.

What are the symptoms of a human bite?

Bleeding, redness, or swelling at the site of the injury may occur. If the wound becomes infected, symptoms may include:

  • Swelling at or near the site of the injury
  • Warmth or red lines along the arm
  • Pain
  • Pus