It could come from the result of an argument turned for the worse or a playful nip of an overzealous child, but a human bite can actually become infected when left untreated. Whether an accident has caused your wound or you’ve suffered an intentional hit to the skin, it’s a good idea to become familiar with home remedies for human bites that can ease the pain, close broken skin, and promote the healing process.
Table of Contents
- What Exactly is a ‘Human Bite?’
- Risk Factors and Negative Effects
- Human Bite Home Remedies
What Exactly is a ‘Human Bite?’
Human bites are either cause for no worry or become much more serious than expected. It is important to learn the difference between the two because the a human bite has the potential to create a host of injuries to the skin. Human bites usually fall into one of two categories – accidental or intentional injury. This also includes injuries inflicted when you have come in any type of contact with the teeth.
Let’s take the school playground for example. During recess, children are constantly running about and will sometimes accidentally collide into one another. If such contact causes the tooth of one to cut into another –a human bite is the result .
Examples of different kinds of human bites include:
a) Intentional Bite Injury:
Often occurring during fights, an intentional bite injury can result in a range of consequences, such as minor bruises. In the worst cases, partial loss of body parts takes place, as seen in the biting of noses and ears. Sadly, this type of injury is also documented in some child abuse and sexual harassment cases.
b) Semi-Intentional Bites:
Sometimes, a bite is inflicted, but the intention of the act is not necessarily intentional – typically seen in very young children and mentally handicapped individuals.
c) Closed Fist Injuries:
A rather serious, damaging hand injury can occur when someone punches another and their fist makes contact with the mouth. When left untreated, complications may arise. Other examples of a closed fist injury that can take place unintentionally including causalities of horseplay and participating in a sporting event.
d) Self-Inflicted Bites:
Did you know that biting your nails can lead to hangnails that cause an infection called paronychia? If you should break the skin while indulging in this nasty little habit, you could transfer bacteria when you suck on any wounds you may have caused.
e) “Love Bites” (Hickeys):
Contrary to popular belief, a hickey (also known as a ‘love bite’) is really classified as a human bite. When only bruising is left behind, the incident is harmless. However, broken skin creates the threat of potential infection.
Interestingly, close to 1/3 of all hand infections develop due to human bite wounds . When analyzing the severity of a human bite, it is the symptoms that give the best clues, which includes:
a) Broken Skin:
If it looks like any part of the top layer of skin has come off, you should consider it a skin break. Some people experience clear fluid that emerges from the break. A raw appearance may develop. Since a break in the skin can bring infection, it is suggested to make sure your tetanus shot status is up-to-date.
b) Tendon or Nerve Damage:
This type of damage causes one to lose their inability to bend or straighten their finger. Sometimes, the tip of the finger shows a lack of sensation.
Human bites can become serious and even when properly treated, the threat of infection is still a possibility. A victim may experience increasing pain and tenderness; increased redness; increased swelling; fever; the drainage of yellow pus; thin red streaks; and swollen glands.
Risk Factors and Negative Effects
While school-age children are placed at a higher risk for human bites due to their interaction with peers, the outcome usually isn’t as detrimental as adult bites. Bites received from a child are typically not very deep, not too likely to become infected, and not as damaging to underlying tissue. As for adults, alcohol is a common factor in human bites that involve a clenched fist striking the mouth and teeth of another.
Human Bite Home Remedies
To avoid the pain and threat of infection that comes with an open wound to the skin, consider the following home remedies that can help treat human bites:
Some human bites have the knack of leaving behind a deep imprint without breaking the skin. However, the pressure of the teeth alone is enough to cause swelling. When this happens, wrap a couple of ice cubes in a clean towel and apply to the affected area. Elevation will also help reduce swelling in addition to the ice.
To control inflammation, immediately wet the skin and rub a tablet of aspirin over the bite. If the bite is painful, swallow an aspirin or other acetaminophen product to lessen the discomfort.
c) Soap and Water:
Following a human bite, it is important to thoroughly wash the affected region using soap and water to remove residual saliva and any other contaminate that may have come in contact with your skin. It is suggested to continue washing for a minimum of five minutes.
d) Bandage or Gauze:
After a human bite has stopped bleeding, cover it with a clean bandage or cloth using a tie or tape to hold it in place.
e) Apple Cider Vinegar:
Some people have enjoyed bite relief when applying organic apple cider vinegar to their wound.
f) Aloe Vera Plant:
Put that aloe vera plant sitting in your windowsill or kitchen table to good use by applying the gel found in the leaves to treat symptoms.
g) Avoid Using Butter:
Contrary to popular belief, using butter to treat bites and burns is not the best course of action.
Boost your ability to fight infection by taking a vitamin C supplement. In order to increase the production of antibodies, consider vitamin B.
While applying goldenseal directly to a bite produces a natural antibiotic effect, you may also create a tea that helps ease symptoms on the first day.