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First aid 101: How to treat human bites to prevent infections

by , 22 April 2013

Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez is in big trouble. This after he bit Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic's arm during yesterday's Premier League game at Antfield, reports The Telegraph. And he's not the first! In fact, sports headlines are littered with stories about how sportsmen and incidents of biting. Just look at England hooker Dylan Hartley who received an eight-week ban when hit bit Ireland's Stephen Ferris. And who can forget Mike Tyson famously chomping down on the ear of Evander Holyfield? But it's not just sportsmen, if you have small children, biting is a health risk you need to know how to treat…

Human bites are some of the most underestimated wounds for seeking treatment.

But, thanks to the high number of germs involved in human mouth, it’s essential to treat them immediately. After all, broken skin can result in nasty infections and damage to the nerves of tendons of the area that’s been bitten. It can also result in more serious ailments, like tetanus and even Hepatitis B, C or HIV, if a person with one of these viral infections bites you.

That’s why it’s imperative you know what steps to take and what to keep in your first aid box should this happen to your child.

Here’s what you need to do if your child suffers from a human bite

According to webMD, there are three things you need to do treat a human bite:

  1. Stop the bleeding: “Do this by applying firm, direct pressure with sterile gauze or clean cloth until bleeding stops,” advises Health Bytes.
  2. Clean and protect: “Clean the wound with mild soap and water. Rinse for several minutes under running water before applying an antibiotic ointment,” says webMD. Then watch the bite for signs of infections. This includes redness, pain, swelling or pus. If you see these, seek medical attention immediately.
  3. Get medical help if skin has been broken: “See a health care provider about any human bite that is more than a superficial scratch because there is a high risk of infection. Even minor bites can easily become infected,” warns wedMD. In most cases, your doctor will administer a tetanus shot to the area.

Bottom line: When it comes to human bites, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Seek medical attention if skin has been broken and take the right precautions early on. By doing this, you’ll be able to protect your child’s health from something much more serious.

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